Riding is Life


Crash claims Wout van Aert at Dwars, another year goes begging for Holy Week dreams

A huge pile-up tore through the group of favourites at the warm-up to De Ronde.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 27.03.2024 Photography by
Dwars door Vlaanderen
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Wout van Aert will miss this Sunday’s Tour of Flanders after a heavy crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen that brought down a number of the biggest Classics riders.

His Visma-Lease a Bike team confirmed after the race the Belgian had broken several bones and will miss Flanders, Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race.

“Unfortunately, Wout van Aert suffered several fractures in the crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen today,” the statement read.

“A broken collarbone and several broken ribs were diagnosed in hospital. It is unclear how long his recovery will take. Van Aert will definitely miss the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race.”

With 68 kilometres remaining, and following a smaller crash on the descent down from the Kanarieberg, a big pile-up saw Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen and Biniam Girmay hit the deck, as well as others.

Many were slow to get up, a stretcher being brought out for Van Aert whose jersey was half-hanging off of his body as he grimaced. Tilts at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are now likely to go begging for yet another year.

While Pedersen managed to get back on his bike, his Lidl-Trek teammate Jasper Stuyven lay on the road and was helped into an ambulance, while Alex Kirsch was another teammate involved in the fall. The Eritrean Biniam Girmay was another brought down, bent over at the side of the road and slow to get up.

The crash happened on the descent off the Kanarieberg, a climb, along with the Kortekeer, that has been removed from the 2024 Tour of Flanders in course alterations designed to improve the safety of the race.

“These situations were becoming too dangerous,” Flanders Classics race director Scott Sunderland said back in February of these areas on the course where the race has “stalled” in previous years, β€œand safety is our highest priority.

“Furthermore, we also want to adapt our course to the way in which the peloton races. We want to anticipate and continue to develop the Tour to better serve the riders. And that is what we are doing with this change, but it does mean that both the Kortekeer and the Kanarieberg will not be included in the course this year.”

Van Aert will be missing from the start line at this weekend’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix the following Sunday. Both victories have so far evaded Van Aert in his career, and will do for another year.

This story has been updated post-publication to include Visma-Lease a Bike’s statement confirming Van Aert’s omission from the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

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