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Welsford was going up against Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Soudal) and Dan McLay (Arkéa-Samsic) in the sprint finish in Aniche.
The Australian was charging up the center of the road, which was curving slightly to the left, when he shifted his line to the left, nudged De Lie and caused him to crash. McLay, who was on the inside by the barriers, was caught up in the fall along with some other riders that had been behind.
Replayed showed that Welsford also stuck out his elbow, which ultimately blocked De Lie, as he moved toward the left.
Welsford stayed on his bike and crossed the line in first place, but he would not make it to the podium as the UCI jury decided to relegate him, meaning that he would be classified as the last rider in the bunch.
The victory was handed to Arvid de Kleijn, who had finished second, while De Lie managed to cross the line for sixth and McLay finished sometime later. De Kleijn is now the overall race leader with a four-second lead over Jason Tesson (St Michel-Auber 93).
No injuries have been reported as a result of the crash at this time, though Lotto Soudal said that De Lie had been taken to hospital for a check-up.
Les images du sprint sur cette première étape des 4 Jours de Dunkerque, avec Sam Welsford qui sort le coude, provoquant la chute d’Arnaud De Lie et par conséquent de Dan McLay et d’autres coureurs. #4JDD pic.twitter.com/vqS77wxio9
— Le Gruppetto (@LeGruppetto) May 3, 2022