Rider hangs from bridge after huge pile-up at Etoile de Bessèges, stage neutralised

Valentin Ferron escapes with minor injuries as others taken to hospital

GCn screenshot of Etoile de Besseges
(Image credit: GCN)

The second stage of the Etoile de Bessèges had to be cancelled after a huge crash sent one of the peloton over the edge of a bridge.

Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies) escaped with “minor superficial wounds” after he had to stop himself falling into the abyss below.

The crash took place with around 24km left to race when the peloton reached a pinch point in the road caused by the small stone bridge.

Following the crash there was a wait of more than 25 minutes while the race organisers decided what to do.

Eventually the decision was taken to neutralise the stage as there were not enough ambulances and medical cars to safely run it in the event of any further incidents.

Among those brought down in the crash was Sébastien Grignard of Lotto Dstny, who was taken to hospital for further checks.

TotalEnergies rider Mathieu Burgaudeau also suffered minor injuries while Anthony Turgis received a blow to his right calf.

It is not known how many other riders were hurt in the crash.

After the delay the riders were allowed to ride the final 22km to the finish.

As a result of the neutralisation Lotto Dstny rider Arnaud De Lie remains at the top of the general classification ahead of tomorrow’s third stage to Bessèges. That is due to finish in a sprint with the following day’s hilly stage and the final day’s 10km time trial are set to decide the overall race.

Up the the point of the crash the race had been a dynamic affair with the bunch battered by crosswinds and an earlier crash that had split the peloton. With some seeking to make the most of the split the bunch was racing hard when the crash happened.

Ferron was lucky to escape the way he did. The incident had eerie echoes of the crash at Il Lombardia that saw Remco Evenepoel tumble down into a ravine in 2020

There the Belgian broke his pelvis and had to spend months recovering.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1