Romain Bardet has played down his actions following a huge crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, saying "anyone in this situation
absolutely would have done the same."
The Frenchman was seen clambering into a ditch on the roadside in aid of his countryman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), who had been one of the many victims of a crash with less than 60km to go that tore through the peloton travelling at 70kmh.
Alaphilippe was forced to abandon the race, suffering two broken ribs, a broken scapula, and a hemopneumothorax. His condition is stable according to his team, but he remained in hospital for observation.
. pic.twitter.com/gtQd1w4vQMApril 25, 2022
Bardet, who also crashed, received widespread praise for relinquishing his place in the race to help the fallen Alaphilippe, but the DSM rider has responded saying "there is no competition in the face of the danger of physical integrity."
"Still struggling to put words to yesterday's events, the distress of these faces and these bruised bodies following this fall," Bardet said in a statement.
"I think of Julian, but also of all these guys heavily affected who had to see their lives slip by, when at more than 70km/h the whistle of the peloton gave way to the chaos, to the sound of exploding equipment and human cries that arise. I am very touched by your messages, but I honestly think that anyone in this situation absolutely would have done the same - there is no competition in the face of the danger of physical integrity."
Julian Alaphilippe en haut avec Bardet dans le fossé, sous son vélo. #LBL pic.twitter.com/Mv9JXyrmAtApril 24, 2022
Bardet, who entered Liège just two days after his overall win at the Tour of the Alps, then went on to reflect on the causes of the crash, saying all riders have a responsibility to each other when pushing for position at the front of the bunch, saying it "can have serious consequences." The 31-year-old did not go as so far as to apportion direct blame to anyone at Liège.
"Beyond direct consequences, it leads me to reflect on our common responsibilities to avoid this kind of accident which could have been tragic, to the respect we owe,
agree, between riders," Bardet said.
"I saw it all, I was just behind Tom Pidcock and Jérémy Cabot when they crashed. The responsibility we have when we take risks to get a place at the front of the peloton can have serious consequences for the 100 guys who are behind us.
"I'm not throwing stones at anyone, and even less hold the truth. Simply, we give ourselves body and soul for a sport, a passion for running that can in a flash turn tragic and hinder the beauty of the sport.
"All my recovery wishes to the riders affected."
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