There was some drama on Tuesday after the first stage of the four days of Dunkirk. After initially being declared the winner, Australian Sam Welsford was then relegated as a result of a dramatic crash.
The Team DSM rider crossed the line first, but the race officials then revised the results, ultimately giving Dutchman Arvid de Kleijn (Human Powered Health) the victory.
As you can see in the video the Australian seems to knick Arnaud de Lie with his elbow in the final metres, stealing would his chances of a win. The commissaires deemed that the rider was guilty of an “irregular sprint,” which would cause the crash of both De Lie (Lotto-Soudal) and Dan McLay (Arkéa-Samsic).
Jason Tesson (St Michel-Auber 93) took second, with Nils Eekhoff (Team DSM) taking third.
According to his team, after the race, De Lie was taken to the hospital.
Twitter was mixed on the relegation. Former American pro Adam Myerson didn’t think that what Welsford did was wrong. “I don’t care if Welsford moved a little or put his elbow out a little to close the door or keep his balance, De Lie was trying to go through a gap that didn’t exist. Any sprinter would defend their spot in that case. But also 19 year old field sprinters don’t tend to back down,” he posted.
“Some a y’all think there should be sprinter’s lanes painted down the last 100 meters or something, and it’s like you never did an actual field sprint,” Myerson added.
Human Powered Health pro racer Robin Carpenter also chimed in. “At some point you just have to sit up slightly or accept the consequences of pushing from behind. The consequences came very quickly. Too bad for McClay to be honest. Collateral damage.”
Check out the hectic finale below.
Les images du sprint sur cette première étape des 4 Jours de Dunkerque, avec Sam Welsford qui sort le coude, provoquant la chute d'Arnaud De Lie et par conséquent de Dan McLay et d'autres coureurs. #4JDD pic.twitter.com/vqS77wxio9
— Le Gruppetto (@LeGruppetto) May 3, 2022