Rider slapped with 30 day suspension for causing Tour of Flanders mass pile-up

Filip Maciejuk banned from racing for a month after careering into the front of the bunch after taking to the pavement

 Filip Maciejuk
(Image credit: Getty)

Bahrain Victorious rider Filip Maciejuk has been handed a 30 day suspension from racing for causing a crash at the Tour of Flanders.

The Polish rider was judged to have been “riding outside of the race course and through a puddle on the roadside” when he crashed and caused a mass pile-up, wiping out most of the peloton.

Footage of the incident was broadcast live and supports the UCI’s conclusions.

Maciejuk did not come down in the incident and was able to continue but he was later disqualified from the race.

His ban from racing started yesterday and will last for a full month.

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Riders riding off the road to move up the side of the bunch has long been a bone of contention in cycling, especially in Belgium where good quality cycle paths frequently border the road.

Speaking on the Watt Occuring podcast in the wake of the incident in the sprint Ineos Grenadiers road captain Luke Rowe said: “He made a massive mistake but I feel sorry for him. He is public enemy number one, maybe I shouldn't feel sorry for him because he caused a lot of people to break their bones.

"We were at dinner last night and Kurt Bogaerts [Ineos Grenadiers sports director] was there and he read an article from one of the big Belgian news sites... and I don't know what his name is but it said 'his name: the guy who ruined the Tour of Flanders'. Imagine that being you."

At the time UCI Peter Van Den Abeele had said that he “wanted to make an example” of Maciejuk.

Shortly after the incident that occurred over 100km into the race when the bunch was travelling at high speed, Maciejuk took to Twitter to apologise.

He wrote: “I’m really sorry for my mistake and causing the crash today. I hope all those involved are in good health and safe. This should not happen and was a big error in my judgement.

“I had no intention of causing this. All I can do now is apologise for my mistake and learn from this in the future. Sorry again to the peloton, my teammates and the fans.”

Maciejuk is generally considered one of Poland’s best prospects for success at the world’s highest level.

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.