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Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe crashed out of the Tour of Flanders just after he forced the race’s decisive move.
The reigning world road champion tangled with a race motorcycle during a heated moment in the famed cobbled classic, and the impact knocked Alaphilippe off of his bicycle. As his racing bicycle skittered off the road, Alaphilippe crashed to the pavement.
The impact came just after Alaphilippe’s relentless attacks forced the decisive moment in the race. Alaphilippe attacked with 50km to go on the Koppenber, and then on the Steenbeekdries with 40km to go. His second acceleration drew out pre-race favorites Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). As the race hit the 35km to go mark, the trio appeared likely to battle for the win on the final set of cobbled climbs.
Instead, Alaphilipp crashed, eliminating himself and Deceuninck–Quick-Step from the front end of the race. Van der Poel and van Aert carved out a 50-second gap on the 20-man chase group and appeared destined to fight it out for the win.
The crash marks a disappointing end for Alaphilippe’s debut in the Tour of Flanders.