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Alaphilippe relegated for irregular sprint after premature celebration at Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Video

Juilan Alaphilippe celebrated too soon and was passed by Primoz Roglic in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Frenchman was later relegated. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe sat up, leaned back, and raised his arms aloft at the finish of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, only for Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) to pip him to the line at the very last.

In a moment of incredible drama, it appeared the new world champion had let a Monument title and a first win in the rainbow jersey slip through his fingers dues to an amateur error. 

However, the drama continued beyond the finish line as race officials reviewed the five-man sprint and relegated Alaphilippe for veering into the path of Marc Hirschi (Sunweb). The decision perhaps spared Alaphilippe's blushes, as the premature celebration ultimately didn't cost him the title, but he was dropped off the podium and into fifth place.

Alaphilippe had opened the sprint in Liège, with Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain McLaren) for company, as well as Hirschi and Roglic. Alaphilippe followed Mohoric before opening his sprint, swinging left as he did so, and blocking off Hirschi, whose momentum was stalled.

Alaphilippe kicked again and thought he'd won it, sitting up to celebrate with just under 25 metres to go. He must have been unaware of Roglic on his right, and the Tour de France runner-up sprinted all the way to the line and snatched it with a late bike throw as Alaphilippe caught the wind with his arms in the air.

The Frenchman waited nervously beyond the line as officials reviewed the photo finish, but it was soon clear that Roglic had crossed the line first. After that blow, Alaphilippe was soon on his way back to the team bus rather than the podium, as the video officials informed him of their decision.

Alaphilippe finished second on his Liège debut in 2015 and was in the perfect position to win La Doyenne for the first time in his debut as world champion He won Milan-San Remo in 2018 but passed up a golden opportunity for a second Monument title.