Julian Alaphilippe: 'Crashing is part of the sport'

Frenchman says he has back pain following his Strade Bianche crash, will start Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday

Julian Alaphilippe
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe was pretty sanguine after his spectacular crash at Strade Bianche on Saturday, saying that "crashing is part of the sport".

The French world champion was part of a large coming together in the bunch at about 80km into the race when winds blew riders off the road and into each other; his bike was thrown into the air and he was forced to dive out of harm's way.

Speaking at a Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl press event on Sunday, Alaphilippe said he didn't blame anybody for the accident and that he has "pain in the back".

While he was able to continue the race, his day challenging for the win was over, and instead he ended up helping his teammate Kasper Asgreen, who finished third behind an incredibly strong Tadej Pogačar.

Immediately after the race he said: "I don't know what happened at the fall. There was a lot of wind, which made it very dangerous. I think someone went down in front of me, making it impossible for me to avoid the crash. I've hurt my back."

“It was a critical sector, and we knew there would be a strong side wind,” Alaphilippe explained on Sunday. “The team did a perfect job to have me in a perfect position.

“Sometimes in such a strong wind, it was difficult to stay on the bike. At one moment, I lost contact on the gravel, so I had to pull off one leg,” he described in a media call. “I still can come back on, but the Alpecin-Fenix rider came in front of me.”

Images from after the crash show riders across the field next to the Lucignano d'Asso sector of gravel picking themselves up.

“It’s part of the race, and crashing is part of the sport,” Alaphilippe said. “I don’t blame anybody. I am happy I finished the race. We will see tomorrow, it is still a beautiful race you want to win.”

Strade Bianche

Riders including Julian Alaphilippe and Salvatore Puccio in the aftermath of the crash

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Some riders, including former winner Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) were forced to retire from the race after the crash.

Alaphilippe is still on the start list for Tirreno-Adriatico and will ride the opening time trial on Monday.

“I went for an easy ride today,” he said. “I am fine. Of course, I have pain in the back. I need to do massage, and to rest this afternoon.”

His attempt to chase back to the leading bunch left Alaphilippe without the energy to follow Pogačar when he made his race-winning move.

“Even before he accelerated, when I started the important sector, I was already à bloc,” he said. “I was already happy to come back in the bunch from strong support from my teammates. I did the sector full gas, and when Pogačar attacked, I just looked at him.

“I said already that I would start the season not at 100 percent, and I am building my shape to be on the top soon,” he said. “I am pushing for the next days, the next months.”

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.