Filip Maciejuk loses control riding through a puddle on a grass verge
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Polish rider Filip Maciejuk has apologised for causing a mass crash at the Tour of Flanders that took out half of the peloton.
Maciejuk attempted to cut across a grassy verge in order to move towards the front of the pack, but the Bahrain Victory rider lost control cycling through a puddle and careered into the group, causing a domino-effect. The incident took out 2016 champion Peter Sagan in his final Flanders race while Tim Wellens had to retire due to injuries.
Maciejuk was disqualified from the race and could now face further punishment should cycling’s governing body, the UCI, investigate the incident.
“I’m really sorry for my mistake and causing the crash today,” Maciejuk tweeted. “I hope all those involved are in good health,” Maciejuk wrote on Twitter. “This should not happen and was a big error in my judgment.
“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.”
Some fellow riders were not impressed with Maciejuk’s actions.
“The big crash happened just in front of me. It was his own mistake. I don’t know what he was planning to do there,” said Mathieu van der Poel, who finished runner-up to race winner Tadej Pogacar. “They should create punishments for such behavior. It’s so obvious. It was like a bowling ball rolling into the peloton. It was really not necessary at that point of the race.”
In response to Maciejuk’s apology, Movistar rider Carlos Verona tweeted: “Unfortunately it is not only you taking too much risk in the bunch nowadays. This sport is getting more and more dangerous for behaviors like yours today and I hope @UCI_cycling starts to do something because there is no respect in the peloton anymore! 😞.”
Two-time Tour de France champion Pogacar joked that he could now retire happy from cycling after winning the Tour of Flanders classic for the first time.
Pogacar, who won the showcase Tour in 2020 and 2021, became only the third cyclist to win both races after Frenchman Louison Bobet and Belgian great Eddy Merckx. The 24-year-old Slovenian clinched victory with a superb solo attack to add Flanders — one of the five “monument races” in one-day cycling — to his glittering list of wins.
“I can say that I can retire after today and I can be proud of my career,” Pogacar said. “I can be super happy and proud.”
Pogacar dropped Dutchman Van der Poel about 18 kilometers from the end of the 273.4-kilometer (169.5-mile) trek from Bruges to Audenarde and beat him by 16 seconds. Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) was third, ahead of Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in fourth spot — both 1:12 behind Pogacar.
additional reporting by Reuters
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