Arvid de Kleijn wins 4 Jours de Dunkerque stage one after crash-marred final

Sam Welsford crosses line first but is relegated after incident

Sam Welsford
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Arvid de Kleijn (Human Powered Health) was declared the winner of stage one of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque after a crash marred the final metres of the race.

Sam Welsford of Team DSM crossed the line first, but was the relegated by commissaires for an "irregular sprint", which appeared to cause a crash which first brought down Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Soudal) and Dan McLay (Arkéa-Samsic) before impacted others.

De Kleijn avoided the crash and finished second behind Welsford, so was therefore awarded the victory.

The incident happened so close to the finish line that De Lie was declared in sixth, despite finishing on the floor. His team tweeted: "Arnaud has been taken to hospital, where a check up will reveal possible injuries. We will give an update as soon as we have it."

Meanwhile, McLay ended up crossing the line in 100th place. It is not known how serious the injuries to other riders are, with people caught up in the high-speed crash behind.

Welsford was in front in the final 100m, with De Lie and McLay coming up fast on his left shoulder, close to the barriers on a slight left-hand bend. As the finish line approached, Welsford moved slightly towards the pair, causing De Lie to fall into McLay. This in turn took out riders behind them.

How it happened

The dramatic finalé followed a largely dull day in northern France. A break consisting of Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels-KTM), Milan Fretin (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Evaldas Šiškevičius (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole) went clear 20km into the stage, before being caught with 73km to go.

Multiple attacks flew off the front after this, but none managed to stick until a move of Gijs Van Hoecke (Ag2r-Citroën) and Alex Colman (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) went off the front with 46km to go, and that was finally caught with just 4.1km to go.

As a result, the final 4km were chaotic, with little time for sprinters to have full leadout trains set up. Multiple attempts at attacks off the front were made, but none stuck, leading to a bunch sprint to the line in Aniche. So big was the bunch in the final that 118 riders finished in the same time.

On his second race day this season, Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) finished 15th, while fellow Briton Chris Lawless (TotalEnergies) finished just outside the top ten in 11th.

See more

4 Jours de Dunkerque 2022, stage one: Dunkerque to Aniche (161.1km)


1. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Human Powered Health, in 3-31-14
2. Jason Tesson (Fra) St Michel - Auber93, in same time
3. Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM
4. Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
5. Alexis Renard (Fra) Cofidis
6. Arnaud de Lie (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
7. Bram Welten (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
8. Arne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Métropole, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Human Powered Health, in 3-31-04
2. Jason Tesson (Fra) St Michel - Auber93, at 4s
3. Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM, at 6s
4. Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM, at same time
5. Milan Fretin (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Evaldas Šiškevičius (Lit) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole, all at same time
7. Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkéa Samsic, at 7s
8. Stanisław Aniolłkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB, at 8s
9. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis, at 9s
10. Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM, at 10s

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