Kiwi cyclist Dion Smith has been one of the victims of a crash-filled finale at Fleche Wallonne yesterday.

Smith, who has been impressive in a helping role in his first season with the Mitchelton-Scott squad, was one of several riders unable to finish the Belgian classic after going down hard in a crash with 35 kilometres to go.

The 26-year-old, who had claimed top 25 finishes in his last two classics - the Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl - despite not being the lead rider for his team, was forced to withdraw after the painful landing, and he wasn't the last rider to have to do so.

Dion Smith crashed out of Fleche Wallonne. Photo / Getty
Dion Smith crashed out of Fleche Wallonne. Photo / Getty

Remarkably, only one of the seven riders from Mitchelton-Scott - Australian climber Damien Howson - was able to finish the race, with all of his teammates coming unstuck in crashes, including one of the favourites for the race, Adam Yates.


"Six out of seven riders were involved in crashes, some of them multiple," confirmed Mitchelton-Scott Head Sport Director Matt White.

"Lucky for us is that nobody was seriously injured but obviously Adam Yates going down with Nick Schultz and four or five others coming in with one lap to go, that was our day done."

Two of the worst-off riders were Domenico Pozzovivo, who suffered concussion after a particularly heavy landing, and fellow veteran Roman Kreuziger, who left a lot of skin on the road after being caught up in the same incident.

The race was won by French star Julian Alaphilippe, who just managed to outsprint recent rival Jakob Fuglsang on the line to claim back-to-back titles and continue his stellar 2019 form.

The pair loom as the favourites for the prestigious Liege-Bastonge-Liege - one of cycling's five "monuments" - on Sunday night, while Smith is likely to be the sole New Zealand representative after White confirmed he should have recovered in time for the famous race.

"By the looks of it, everybody looks to be ok for Sunday."