Adam Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott teammates saw their chances of a successful Flèche Wallonne disappear on Wednesday after all but one of their number were involved in crashes. Yates, who came into the race as a potential podium candidate, crashed just before the second ascent of the Mur de Huy and was forced out of the race as a result.
Of the team's entire seven-rider roster, only Damien Howson came through unscathed, finishing in 28th place, as Julian Alaphilppe romped home to take the win ahead of Astana's Jakob Fuglsang.
Michael Albasini, a perennial top-10 finisher in Flèche Wallonne, and Daryl Impey were also involved in falls and failed to finish the race.
"Today flipped on its head pretty quickly, unfortunately, with many crashes throughout the race and most of the team went down or had been involved one way or another," Howson said in a press release issued by the team.
"I felt pretty good from the start and I was there to support our leader Adam. Coming into the final lap after Adam fell I was the only one left for us."
Howson battled on but after spending energy on the front and riding for his teammates he was unable to match the best climbers as the final ascent of the Mur started.
"I was already feeling the efforts I made throughout the day but I wanted to still try and salvage something for the team," he said.
The only saving grace for Mitchelton-Scott was that none of the team were seriously injured in the catalogue of crashes. The same could not be said for several rivals, with Domenico Pozzovivo forced out of the race after a heavy fall and resulting concussion.
Mitchelton-Scott's head sports director, Matt White, confirmed that none of the Flèche Wallonne roster were seriously hurt and that the plan was to keep his riders fresh ahead of Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"Six out of seven riders were involved in crashes, some of them multiple. Lucky for us is that nobody was seriously injured but obviously Adam Yates going down with Nick Schultz and four or five others coming in with one lap to go, that was our day done," White said.
"By the looks of it, everybody looks to be ok for Sunday."
Mitchelton-Scott have yet to announce their full line-up for Liège but Adam Yates is expected to lead the line.
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