Arnaud Demare won a crash-hit Milan-San Remo on Saturday ending France’s 21-year wait for a winner of the first Classic race of the season.
The 300 kilometre trek was animated by an 11-man break that set off soon after the flag had dropped.
That gave the chasing pack the jitters, and there were several crashes, including Demare himself.
But despite these accidents the breakaway group was caught with 25 kilometres to the line.
A few more riders attempted to burst clear but no one lasted and a sprint finish for victory was on – although there was still time for one more crash.
That happened in the final few hundred metres and among those to be affected was world champion Peter Sagan who was knocked off his line.
Demare of the FDJ team took full advantage of the disrupted sprint finish to snatch the win for a first Classic success of his career.