By Alex Ballinger published
A major pile-up in the Three Days of De Panne inspired a moment of great sportsmanship from Mitchelton-Scott’s Michael Hepburn.
The crash came on the narrow Belgian roads in 11km from the finish of the one-day event.
A number of riders went down in the collision as the course narrowed, including Israel Cycling Academy’s Zak Dempster.
Australian Hepburn got off his bike mid-race, lifting a bike that had landed on top of his countrymen and moving it to the side of the road.
Dempster said: “Heppy is one of my good friends and I was sort of awkwardly stuck under my bike and winded.
“I just heard him say ‘you alright bro?’, then he started piling bikes off of me.
“It was really nice of Michael and that’s why he’s one of my best mates.”
The video was shared on social media and has attracted plenty of praise for Hepburn.
Israel Cycling Academy said on Twitter: “Friendship first, sportsmanship first, decency first.
“When our Aussie Zak Dempster crashed today in Three Days of De Panne. It was his colleague and friend from Mitchelton-Scott, Michael Hepburn that left his bike behind and cared him.
“Not surprised one bit, but thanks mate.”
The race was won by Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Greonewegen, who easily out-sprinted Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Defending champion Viviani had been the rider ideally dropped off by his final lead-out man Michael Mørkøv with 100m to go, launching his sprint to the left of the road.
It was Gaviria who countered first to the right of the road, but neither of them could do anything to stop the powerful Groenewegen from squeezing between Gaviria and the barriers on the right to sprint easily to the win.
Alex is the 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 and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.
Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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