Despite what you may think you know about the Tour de France, the athletes competing in the world’s most prestigious cycling event are anything but pansies. Take Philippe Gilbert, for example.
Quick-Step Floors’s Philippe Gilbert has abandoned the 2018 Tour de France through injuries suffered in a scary crash on a descent on stage 16.
The former world champion had attacked from the 46-man breakaway on the slopes of the third climb of the Col de Portet-d’Aspet with 71km to go, and had gained over a minute’s advantage as he crested the category two ascent.
As he looked to extend his advantage, Gilbert was pushing it on the descent with his team-mate and eventual stage winner Julian Alaphilippe behind. But on a left-hand bend, the Belgian came in with too much speed and locked up as he tried to brake, realising he was heading into the road-side wall.
Kevin and I were watching this as it happened. Our first thought was, “He’s dead.”
He crashed into the wall and was flung from his bike into the ravine on the other side. The 36-year-old re-emerged eventually, giving a thumbs up to camera and remounting his bike, despite having suffered cuts, with a particularly severe gash on his left leg. Gilbert was given the most combative rider award after the stage for finishing despite the crash.
A normal human probably would have laid in the ravine while contemplating his life choices. The fact Gilbert climbed out (with help from paramedics), jumped back on the bike (while bleeding like a stuck pig) and finished the race is an astonishing feat.
Now before you rip him for dropping out of the rest of the Tour, here’s a look as his leg, post-race…
Yeah, I’m not calling Gilbert a pussy for that.