Winning on one leg: Stunning scenes as unclipped Arnaud De Lie wins Famenne Ardenne Classic

Belgian pops out of the pedal in sprint finish, flails right leg, still wins

Clock16:26, Sunday 1st October 2023

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Arnaud De Lie wins the Famenne Ardenne Classic on one leg - literally

Arnaud De Lie winning the Famenne Ardenne Classic will have come as no surprise, given the Belgian's form and track record in this sort of one-day race. But no one could have foreseen the manner of victory on Sunday.

De Lie literally won it on one leg.

The Lotto Dstny sprinter crossed the line, in almost comical fashion, with his right leg stretched out, barely keeping himself upright.

In the sprint for the line, he had pedalled so furiously that his shoe had popped out of his pedal. Despite efforts to clip back in, he was unable to, and had to throw for the line one-legged, and with speed draining away.

Remarkably, he held on to collect his 10th victory of the season.

The 1.1-classified one-day race in southern Belgium came down to a reduced group sprint, and De Lie hit out strongly on the right-hand side of the road. However, disaster almost struck in the final 50 metres as the cleat on his right shoe detached from his pedal on the upstroke.

He tried to clip it back in but failed, and then decided to just turn the left leg as the right one flailed to the side. He threw the bike for the line, causing him to become even more unbalanced as his rivals surged past him, but remarkably he'd hit the line just in time.

Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), winner of three stages at the recent Vuelta a España, was runner-up in an indication of how impressive De Lie's one-legged sprint really was, while Florian Sénéchal (Soudal Quick-Step) rounded out the podium.

"It was a very special victory with a crazy finish," De Lie said.

"I broke my pedal, my chain fell off, but luckily I still got it onto the big ring. Of course there was some panic, but because I still managed to get the chain on the big ring, I was able to pedal a bit. Perhaps that is why I could win."

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