Yesterday’s Tour de France stage to the summit of the Col du Portet was dramatic for all the reasons you’ve heard about: Tadej Pogačar’s stage win, Richard Carapaz’s failed attack, and Jonas Vingegaard’s tenacious second place.
But more than half an hour later, a different, untelevised story was unfolding.
Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) completed the stage in 120th place, 31:47 behind the GC favourites, and with his fellow riders of the grupetto turned around at the summit to ride back down to the team buses toward the base of the mountain.
Then, he got caught up in an unexpected drama. A cycling spectator, who was also descending the mountain, missed a turn, went over the side of the road and into a ravine.
Speaking to Belgian broadcaster RTBF, Philippe Gilbert explained the story:
“I can tell you that there is a lot going on in [the] pass. On the descent, after crossing the finish line, I was following a bike, the rider missed a bend and was found 20 metres below,” Gilbert said before today’s stage start in Pau.
Gilbert was joined in the rescue mission by four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Christopher Juul-Jensen (Team BikeExchange).
“We stopped to rescue him… These are facts that are not known to the press, but yesterday I gave up almost twenty minutes to help this man. We called for help because he was badly messed up. These are experiences that we also live.”
The condition of the crashed fan is unknown.