Prades mistakenly salutes Tour of Hellas stage win and crashes - Gallery
Caja Rural rider's saddle fell off, sending him to the ground just as he thought he had won
It has happened to the greatest and the least of the pro peloton - the embarrassing mistaken victory salute when there was a rider away who won, or the premature celebration that costs a victory as another rider sprints past. Spare a thought for Eduard Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) who not only thought he'd won the stage but suffered the additional injury of having his bicycle crumble underneath him.
On the first stage of the Tour of the Hellas, a UCI 2.1-ranked stage race in Greece that got underway on Wednesday, it was Aaron Gate (Bolton Equities-Black Spoke) who escaped to take the stage win and the first leader's jersey of the race. He broke away on a hilly 190.1-kilometre stage from Heraklion to Chania on the island of Crete and won the stage by 1:46 on the peloton.
Behind, a small group was sprinting for second and Prades, not realizing Gate had been away, began to celebrate as he came to the line ahead of Trek-Segafredo's Filippo Baroncini and Luc Wirtgen (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces). But as he raised his arms in his faulty celebration, his saddle came loose, sending him sprawling backwards to the tarmac.
Prades said in a team press release - which did not mention the mechanical failure - that he was unaware there was a rider out front.
"Both Trek and we have been attacking for much of the climb and in the end Jon [Barrenetxea] gave me a hand on the descent to catch the breakaway group. We caught them but the truth is that we didn't have much information and the way the race was going I thought there was no one left in front, that's why in the end I raised my arms," Prades said.
Aside from his mechanical failure and subsequent fall, Prades is in good company in mistaken victory salutes. World Champion Julian Alaphilippe celebrated too soon at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2020 and lost the sprint to a hard-charging Primož Roglič. Last year Demi Vollering celebrated too soon at Brabantse Pijl and was beaten to the line by US champion Ruth Winder. In the biggest arena of all, Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated finishing the women's road race thinking she'd won gold when Austrian Anna Keisenhofer had already taken the win.
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