On the Oude Kwaremount with 17-km to go, it looked like pre-race favourites Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen had joined forces to chase Philippe Gilbert who had escaped solo with 55-km to race.

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Sagan, leading the trio of pre-race favourites however hit something while riding in the guter on the cobbled climb and like pinballs, Sagan then Van Avermaet and finally Naesen came toppling down on the famed cobbles of Flanders. It’s still unclear exactly what caused the crash. After the race Sagan said, “It was my fault, I don’t know. I was near the barrier, yeah, but I was controlling the space, how close I was.

“It was my fault, I don’t know,” said Sagan after the race. “I was near the barrier, yeah, but I was controlling the space, how close I was. I was a little to the left, but…Every year, if you are doing it alone, you can do it. I was alone ahead and they were following me, but then I snagged on a pullover or I don’t know, some flag. Then the barrier was afterwards, I went towards the barrier.”

At first the commentators suggested it was a jacket or a banner that got tangled in Sagan’s handle bars but on second look it looks like the world champion didn’t have his head up and followed a bad line into the feet of the roadside barriers that separate the race from the spectators.

The race winning move went on the Muur van Geraardsbergen with over 90 kilometres to race. Philippe Gilbert would go on to ride solo for 55-km to take victory after 18 helligen and 260-km.

UPDATE: New footage shows how Sagan lost control of his bike. A fans jacket draped over the barriers separating the spectators from the race on the Kwaremont snagged in Sagan’s handlebars as he was riding in the left gutter of the cobbled climb. The jacket pulled the world champions handlebars causing Sagan’s wheel to turn towards the foot of the barrier which a split second later he hit with his front wheel causing him to lose control of his bike.


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