Reigning champion Niki Terpstra crashes out of Tour of Flanders 2019

The Dutchman has been riding strong with his new team but was forced to abandon his title defence

Niki Terpstra has crashed out of his Tour of Flanders defence (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Niki Terpstra has crashed out of the Tour of Flanders as he looked to defend his 2018 title.

The Dutchman made the move to Direct Energie at the start of the season but didn’t appear to have lost any of his ability in the Classics.

After strong performances in the opening spring races, Terpstra’s campaign may have been cut short after he crashed out of Flanders.

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The 34-year-old was caught in a collision 157km from the line, as the peloton approached the Oude Kwaremont for the first time.

He looked to be in a bad way on the floor after the low speed fall, with medical staff treating him on the course, but his team said they have had "reassuring" news.

Terpstra was forced to abandon the race and was taken to hospital.

The crash throws also Terpstra’s Paris-Roubaix into doubt, as he looks to repeat his 2014 victory in the famous velodrome next weekend.

Direct Energie said on Twitter: “Terrible at 160km from the finish. A fall forced our leader Niki Terpstra to abandon.

“Niki is being transported to the hospital."

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The team later added: “Reassuring news about Niki Terpstra who was able to regain his spirits after his fall.

“As soon as we have more news, we will communicate.”

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After Terpstra came down, Cofidis rider Christophe Laporte was seen checking on his rival and calling for medical help.

Terpstra’s results this season show he hasn’t lost any ambition in the move to the Professional Continental ranks, finishing third in both Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Le Samyn.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for 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.