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How to lose a race astonishingly badly

A race in France was going great for two teammates until it wasn't

Two cyclists do an early victory salute and lose the race in France Photo by: Fan Club Dorian Godon @fc_doriangodon

We’ve seen it so many times in cycling. The victory salute that is just a bit too early, and results in someone stealing the win. As a spectator, it is hard to watch. As the rider who blows the win, it’s probably something that gives you nightmares for years.

Painful to watch early victory salute ends in disappointment

There’s also those brutal days when the rider who wins the bunch sprint didn’t know they were racing for second.

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it’s happened so often in cycling that it is still surprising to see it happen again.

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It happens to riders at all levels. Even Annemiek van Vleuten thought she had won Olympic Gold…except she’d been riding for second.

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But all of these many screw-ups in cycling history now take second place to this colossal whoopsie. At the Critérium Saint Symphorien sur Coise on Saturday in the open race, a couple of teammates thought they had a beautiful win. Two riders from the EC Saint-Étienne Loire club, Remi Arsac and Charly Merle were coming to the line with a victory in hand. Channelling Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond at Alpe d’Huez in 1986 or something, the two riders began to do a joint victory salute. That’s when disaster struck. You can hear people in the crowd yelling at them to keep going…but it was too late.

Simon Ruet (VC Villefranche Beaujolais) came around them in a literal “come-from-behind” victory.

Oh, this is painful to watch. That must have been a fun podium afterward.