Peloton split by train at level crossing halfway through one-day classic
Several riders go around barriers, narrowly missing oncoming train
Bradley Wiggins reaches end of road for Team Sky at Paris-Roubaix
Paris Roubaix
Riders swerve to avoid the falling barriers; seconds later, a TGV passes through the level crossing. Photograph: Eurosport.com

Disaster was narrowly averted at the Paris-Roubaix one day classic race, after several cyclists rode around the barriers at a level crossing, missing an oncoming train by seconds.

The peloton were separated in the incident, which saw riders bunched behind the barriers waiting for the train to pass. Some cyclists, including French champion Arnaud Démare, chose to risk going around the barriers in an effort to keep up with those that had already crossed.

The one-day road race, which runs from Compiègne, 50 miles outside Paris, to the northern town of Roubaix, is renowned for its uncompromising route, which includes cobbled sections and level crossings. Despite this, the peloton appeared to be caught off guard at the crossing close to the town of Wallers in northeastern France, with a number of riders struck by the falling barrier.

The remaining cyclists wait for the train to pass before rejoining the race. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

The peloton regrouped after the incident, allowing riders caught behind the barriers to catch up. Those who did make their way over the level crossing after the barriers came down could ultimately be disqualified from the race. Britain’s Geraint Thomas avoided the incident, only to suffer a puncture moments later – his second of a frustrating afternoon.

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