Cycling: World champ Alaphilippe stable after heavy crash on Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Julian Alaphilippe (left) was involved in a huge pile-up near the front of the main bunch and fell into a ditch. PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - World champion Julian Alaphilippe is in a stable condition after crashing heavily during the Liege-Bastogne-Liege Monument classic but will need to be kept in hospital for observation, his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl cycling team said on Sunday (April 24).

The team said he suffered two broken ribs, a broken scapula and a collapsed lung.

The Frenchman was conscious while being treated in an ambulance, TV channel France 3 reported, after the 29-year-old was involved in a huge pile-up near the front of the main bunch and fell into a ditch, around 62km from the finish.

Team mate Ilan Van Wilder, 21, suffered a broken jaw in the same accident.

"Both will travel by ambulance to (the city of) Herentals for further examination and treatment," the team said.

But there was better news for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl after Remco Evenepoel won the race, claiming his maiden Monument classic after launching a brutal attack on the penultimate climb of the day.

The 22-year-old, the first Belgian to win the oldest classic race in 11 years, attacked near the top of the Cote de la Redoute, 30km from the finish, and never looked back.

His compatriots Quinten Hermans (Intermarche-Wanty Gobert Materiaux) and Wout van Art (Jumbo-Visma) took second and third places respectively, after 257.5km.

"I hope everyone in the crash is okay," said Evenepoel, who burst into tears of joy after the finish.

"It's the race I've been dreaming of winning since I started cycling," the former Belgium Under-16 football player said.

"I wanted to blow things up in the Cote de la Redoute and I managed to do it and was able to make the move stick."

Behind Evenepoel, who is regarded as one of the biggest talents of the new generation, his rivals failed to organise a proper chase.

He caught up with the riders from the breakaway one by one and dropped the last of them, France's Bruno Armirail, at the foot of the final climb, the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons.

After a few riders tried their luck solo to catch Evenepoel, the reduced group of chasers settled for a sprint finish, 48 seconds behind.

One of the pre-race favourites, two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar, was not at the start after the death of his mother-in-law.

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