Chaotic scenes unfolded at Dwars door Vlaanderen as the men’s race was neutralised twice.
Confusion caused a delay to the racing as the peloton and breakaway were brought back together and the race paused on the narrow winding roads of Flanders.
The 182.8km race from Roeselare to Waregem is a popular test for those targeting the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel won the race, taking his first WorldTour victory.
A delay in the women’s race ahead, caused by a crash, meant the men’s breakaway got too close and the race needed to be stopped 76km from the line.
The men were stopped but quickly started rolling again, only to be stopped once again because the breakaway were behind the peloton.
Officials stopped the race once again to allow the group of eight leaders to move back to their 2-15 advantage held before the stoppage.
But things still weren’t set, as escapee Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) was left behind the breakaway.
Pöstlberger asked a race jury motorbike rider to tow him back to the front of the race but was denied, before he was finally carried up by a media bike.
He even gave a brief interview to the motorbike passenger while chasing the escapees.
The race was eventually restarted with 70km to go at the foot of the Kluisberg.
After the race was restarted, the tension seemed high in the bunch as a crash followed almost immediately.
Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Ag2r La Mondiale) were amongst those caught in the collision.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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