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Big Crash Leaves Cyclist Dangling Over Small Bridge

2:39 PM EST on February 3, 2023

Cyclists racing in the Étoile de Bessèges in southern France got in such a calamitous crash on Thursday that the second stage of the five-day race was entirely cancelled. The culprit was a small stone bridge 24 kilometers ahead of the finish, a pinch point where riders piled up.

Three ambulances carried away cyclists involved in the crash, according to race director Claudine Fangille, who decided it was unsafe to continue the stage without sufficient medical resources for other incidents. Cyclingnews reported that at least 12 cyclists were too banged up to compete in the third stage on Friday, with two known cases of fractured bones.

One rider who continued to compete the next day was 24-year-old Valentin Ferron, who'd been launched over the side of the bridge and briefly dangled over a ravine of unknown depth.

"He's holding on for dear life there," said one of the commentators on the Eurosport feed. "Can somebody please help him?"

"Let's hope they can lift him up, because that's not a short drop," said the other commentator, just before Ferron placed his right foot on the slope and began walking back up to the road. Seconds later, another rider crossed the ravine to get around the crash.

"More of a fright than any harm," Ferron's team told Cyclingnews afterward. He nearly won stage three on Friday, settling for second after a late surge from the 20-year-old sprinter Arnaud De Lie.

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