Sometimes in big competitions, you have to take risks to win. But in this weekend’s Tour de Flanders, pro cyclist Filip Maciejuk took things a bit too far—and caused a 20-bike pileup right in the middle of the race. The collision, which was captured on video, ended up sidelining three cyclists (including Maciejuk). It may have also changed the outcome of the race.
So, what exactly happened?
About halfway through the 170-mile race, Maciejuk was getting ready to make his move, reports Gear Junkie. There was a United Arab Emirates athlete just in front of him, and Maciejuk was planning to sneak by on the guy’s left, then shoot out in front. So, he veered wide of the peloton, picking up speed to overtake his adversary. But as Maciejuk darted around the corner, he found himself unexpectedly rolling through clumpy grass and several inches of water. He tried to dodge the obstacles by veering back to the right, but he overcorrected—and collided straight into the peloton.
Maciejuk appears to nick another rider with his pedal, sending man teetering, wobbling, and then crashing bodily into the asphault. The downed man trips up the guys behind him. Before you know it, they’re all falling like dominos.
“That does not look good,” the announcer says. Understatement of the year, my guy.
Tim Wellens, the UAE cyclist Maciejuk had been trying to pass, broke his collarbone in the crash. He was taken off the racecourse and later brought to the hospital for surgery. Another cyclist, Ben Turner, broke his arm, reports Cycling News. Maciejuk later apologized for his actions on Twitter.
Tour de Flanders is an internationally renowned bike race that’s been held annually since 1919. It’s a favorite of the cycling community and now features around 16,000 of the world’s top competitors each year. The course cruises through the Belgian countryside from Bruges (yep, the one from the movie), to the town of Oudenaarde. The route is famous for its scenery as well as its steep, cobblestone roads, which challenge riders’ climbing ability, their daring on steep downhills, and their strategic decision-making.
Tadej Pogačar, also a cyclist for the United Arab Emirates, ultimately won this year’s Tour de Flanders, finishing with a stunning lead. Pogačar is Slovenian by birth and has won the Tour de France twice.
As for Maciejuk? He escaped his collision unharmed, but was disqualified for his causing the crash. Better luck next year, Fil.