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Tour of Flanders: Julian Alaphilippe crashes into motorbike as Mathieu van der Poel takes win

Sporting News logo Sporting News 19/10/2020 01:35:05 Brendan Bradford

World Champion Julian Alaphilippe crashed out of Sunday's Tour of Flanders in the final 35km of the one day classic after hitting a motorbike on the side of the road. 

Alaphilippe was in the decisive break alongside Wout van Aert and eventual winner Mathieu van der Poel, when he clipped a moto on the right hand side of the road. 

The Frenchman's bike went flying end over end as he flipped to the road with a broken hand. His Deceuninck-QuickStep team later revealed he will require surgery. 

Alaphilippe had broken the race open minutes earlier with van Aert and van der Poel the only two riders able to go with him. 

MORE: Alaphilippe celebrates too early, relegated for dodgy sprint

Van Aert was at the front of the group heading around a slight right hand bend when the trio rapidly approached two motos riding slowly on the inside corner. 

Van Aert pulled out to the left, with van der Poel barely managing to swerve out of the way. Sitting on the back of the group, Alaphilippe - who may have been talking into his radio at the time - didn't have time to react and crashed out. 

Speaking after the race, Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-QuickStep team boss Patrick Lefevere blamed the motorbikes for being in the way. 

"Perhaps the Shimano motorbike has been instructed by the jury chairman to nestle behind the front runners, but that bike of the UCI had no business there," Lefevere told Sporza.

"Those bikes had to be on the outside by the way, because it was a slight right turn. A driver always looks for the shortest route, so he drives past there.

"Wout van Aert would not have thought that this would happen. You saw that Mathieu van der Poel was shocked that those two motos were there. He could only just avoid that motorbike, but Alaphilippe could not."

Lefevre didn't believe the crash was caused by Alaphilippe talking into his radio moments before the incident. 

"Van der Poel almost rode into it and he was not talking to anyone," he said. 

"You have the first rider trying to avoid something, then a second and then a third. That's always a bit more difficult. Those motorcyclists just had no business [being] there."

With the world champion out of the race, van der Poel won a two-up sprint with van Aert to claim the biggest win of his career. 

It's been an eventful couple of week for Alaphilippe. 

The 28-year-old wore the Tour de France's yellow jersey after winning a stage, but was hit with a 20-second time penalty after taking food too close to the finish of stage five.

A week after the Tour, he became the world champion with a daring solo attack in the closing stages of the mens elite race. 

At Liege-Bastogne-Liege he looked to have won the final sprint, but celebrated too early, allowing Primioz Roglic to take it on the line. Alaphilippe was later relegated to fifth for impeding Marc Hirschi on the final run to the line. 

19. lokakuuta 2020 4:35:05 Categories: Sporting News

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