Philippe Gilbert has abandoned the men’s road race at the Yorkshire World Championships in tears following a crash and not being able to chase back up to the peloton.
The Belgian, who was one of the favourites going into the race, was brought down by a crash with 120km to go, as the peloton entered the Harrogate circuit.
The 37-year-old got back up, grimacing, as Remco Evenepoel tried to shepherd him back up to the peloton.
This effort proved futile, though, with Gilbert climbing off after another couple of laps of Harrogate, with half of the starters remaining in the race with 95km to go.
Evenepoel, who was also brought down by the crash, now finds himself more than five minutes behind the peloton after the effort to try and get Gilbert back in the race.
Reigning champion Alejandro Valverde (Spain) also abandoned with 80km to go, with Britain’s Geraint Thomas climbing off with 46km remaining.
The men’s road race was altered this morning, taking out a couple of climbs and shortening the distance, due to the horrendous conditions out on the road caused by torrential rain.
The Belgian squad still have Greg Van Avermaet to contest the victory, in what is one of the strongest squads present in Yorkshire.
A number of high-profile riders have abandoned the men’s road race at the Yorkshire World Championships in torrid conditions.
Heavy rain has lambasted the peloton from the start of the day, with riders dealing with standing water on the roads on the mammoth Yorkshire course.
Rohan Dennis was the first high-profile abandon, having done his job of leading the peloton for the Australian outfit, days after defending his world time trial title.
The two 2019 Grand Tour winners, Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) and Primož Roglič (Slovenia), were involved in a strong early break but both abandoned after their move was swept up on the first lap of the Harrogate circuit.
Ireland’s Dan Martin also climbed off, having been one of the first to animate proceedings as the race rolled out of Leeds at 9am this morning.