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'A crash is always a daze, especially when you're hanging from a bridge' - Valentin Ferron on his dramatic Besseges save

By Patrick Fletcher,


Valentin Ferron won a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné last summer but that fame pales against the attention that has come his way after the dramatic crash on stage 2 of the Etoile de Bessèges .

The Frenchman ended up hanging by his arms off the side of a bridge. Thanks to the quick-thinking help of Alpecin-Deceuninck's Axel Laurence, he managed to haul himself back onto the bridge and incredibly only suffered minor scrapes.

It was a remarkable image that went far beyond cycling media and into the realms of the mainstream, with gifs and memes surely coming soon to a social media platform near you.

Understandably, the whole thing remains a bit of a blur for Ferron.

"I still don't really know how it all happened. There wasn't much time to really take in what was going on," Ferron told Cyclingnews on Friday morning.

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"There was a big crash as we went onto the bridge, and I was obviously caught up, but then riders came in from behind, and somehow I'm bumped out to the right onto the wall of the bridge. I'm not really sure how, but I found myself suspended off the side of it. It was a very odd situation."

Ferron wasn't hanging for too long before Laurence came along and guided him to safety and, looking back, he could see the bridge wasn't far above solid ground. A deathly drop into a so-called ravine was an over-dramatised version of events, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a scary experience.

"I was panicking a bit. It was a pretty worrying situation. Even if I'd fallen, it wasn't that much of a drop, but I could have hurt my ankle or a knee," he said.

"I guess I was aware, from looking over my shoulder, that it wasn't much of a drop, but it's difficult to process that at the time, and stay calm.

"After every crash there are lot of things going on in your head. It's a rush, you're a bit dazed, adrenaline is up, it takes a bit of time to understand where you are, how you are, and find your marks. And that's just on a normal road. All that when you're hanging from a bridge is something else."

Ferron said he had a good grip on the bridge, but even then struggles to recall the sensations in his arms and upper body, which don't get much of a workout in the normal routines of a pro cyclist. Nor does he remember quite how he got out of the mess, only knowing that Laurence came along and awkwardly managed help him drag himself back onto the road.

"The whole thing was a blur," he concluded.

Ferron paid tribute to Laurence, underlining his compatriot's point that "in those moments there are no longer team divides - we are all together in the same galley."

He also praised the organisers for taking the "right decision" to call off the stage given the lack of ambulances available for the final 20km.

"Even the finale was a bit dangerous, with a village at 8km to go, with a high chance of another crash. It was a good call."

As for his face - or rather his outstretched arms - being plastered all over the media, he could see the humour but issued a reminder that this was nevertheless still a serious situation.

"It's true, it's quite funny seeing myself in all the media. There's been a lot of focus on me, but in the end I've come off pretty well. There were riders who were a lot less fortunate than me with much worse injuries than mine."

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