Tom Pidcock recovers from late crash to take sixth on La Flèche Wallonne debut

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) recovered from a late crash at La Flèche Wallonne to take sixth at the finish atop the Mur de Huy.

The Briton was among the favourites for victory on his race debut after winning Brabantse Pijl and finishing second at Amstel Gold Race but his run-in to the final in Wallonia was disrupted after he hit the deck with 28 kilometres to go on Wednesday.

A touch of wheels in the peloton saw several riders fall on the side of the road as the peloton chased down the early breakaway shortly after the second of the day's three ascents of the Mur de Huy.

Luckily for Pidcock, he hit the ground on the grass verge at the side of the road along with a Trek-Segafredo rider further back, while Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën) fell in the road and took some time to get going.

Others, such as Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), and Lennard Hofstede (Jumbo-Visma) were also held up by the crash, though all of them, plus Sean Bennett, Robert Power (Qhubeka Assos), and Fernando Barceló (Cofidis) stayed upright.

After getting going with a push from the Ineos Grenadiers mechanic, Pidcock could be seen visiting his team car having suffered damage to his right shoe. The 21-year-old, who is riding his first year at WorldTour level, then made it back to the peloton with the help of his teammate and Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart, with 24 kilometres to race.

Pidcock was seen back at the sharp end of the action during the race finale up the brutal double-digit gradients of the Mur de Huy. 

He was near the front of the peloton as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) attacked with 350 metres to go but couldn't respond to the next acceleration, that of eventual winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep). 

Pidcock kept fighting all the way to the line and finished sixth, 11 seconds down on Alaphilippe.

La Flèche Wallonne was supposed to be Pidcock's last race of the spring but his run of success and ability in the hardest classics, means he could also line-up at Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday according to a report in Nieuwsblad. 

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