The pre-race favourite crashed heavily with eight kilometres remaining

André Greipel’s participation in next Sunday’s Tour of Flanders is in doubt tonight after the German suffered a suspected broken collarbone during today’s Ghent-Wevelgem.

The pre-race favourite came down in a crash 8.2 kilometres from the finish, and immediately climbed into the team car.

“His collarbone is definitely broken, it’s swollen,” said Lotto-Belisol directeur sportif Marc Sergeant.

A tweet confirming as much from the squad’s official account initially confirmed as much, before it was later deleted. A new post said he the break was “probable”.

“[He has] probably broke his collarbone, but further examination has to determine that.” – Lotto-Belisol statement.

“We did everything to get with André to the finale, and we succeeded 100 percent in that,” added Sergeant.

“We had five men for him in the finale; it was all going very well until the moment when he crashed”

Sergeant added that he believed Greipel missed the initial crash, but was felled by another rider’s flying bike.

He said: “I think it was [Tyler] Farrar who fell first and then André went down. I don’t know what caused it, I haven’t even seen it. André said that Farrar did something and he fell.”

Belgium television broadcaster had a camera placed in Lotto’s team car for the race.

“Andre is down,” said Sergeant in reaction to the crash, before throwing his race manual.

The video – available to watch here – then showed Greipel getting in the car, and watching the finish on their in-car television screen.

André Greipel after Ghent-Wevelgem crashAs fellow German John Degenkolb won, Greipel said of his compatriot: “It’s not normal,” before shouting an expletive.

The five-time Tour de France stage winner finished 51st in last year’s Ronde after helping team-mate Jürgen Roelandts onto the podium.

However, Sergeant remained positive about his team’s chances in next Sunday’s Ronde, saying: “I saw two good riders today who can be there for the final – Roelandts and Tony Gallopin – and we’ll have to work with them.”

Update: Monday, March 31

Lotto-Belisol stated on Sunday evening that Greipel has suffered a “third degree AC luxation of the collarbone… Because of the crash the collarbone was dislocated and both ligaments between collarbone and shoulder have been completely pulled off.”

Greipel underwent surgery to replace the torn ligaments and have a small plate fitted. “The diagnosis immediately puts an end to the participation of Greipel in the spring races,” said the team.