Cycling: Julian Alaphilippe celebrates too soon at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, before being demoted to fifth

Cycling world champion Julian Alaphilippe has been left embarrassed, after celebrating victory too soon at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race and was pipped at the line. 

Alaphilippe looked set to win the one-day event - one of cycling's 'Monument' classics - but Tour de France runner-up Primoz Roglic surged late to beat him by the narrowest of margins. 

Adding insult to injury, the Frenchman was relegated to fifth, after he stopped pedalling with the finish line in sight and impeded Swiss Marc Hirschi. 

Hirschi finished second, with Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia taking third place.

After his demotion, Alaphilippe admitted he was delighted that Roglic beat him at the finish-line, as he would have felt more embarrassed if he'd won. 

"I'm obviously disappointed not to have won," says Alaphilippe. "With a cool head, having recovered a little, I watched the footage and I really didn't realise I'd made such a severe deviation. 

"That was the first error. The second error was to lift the arms a bit too early. 

"It's the first time in my career that's happened and I think it'll also be the last. I prefer to be relegated, having finished second, than if I'd have won. 

"I want to apologise for what happened to Hirschi and thank my team for the work they did today. I'm still happy to show the jersey at this race and I gave my all, but more than anything, I'm sorry and disappointed."

Slovenian Roglic was pleased to win, after a disastrous time trial saw him lose the Tour de France yellow jersey on the penultimate stage. 

"It's unbelievable, it was so close,"  says Roglic. "Never stop believing, it's a few centimetres... it's incredible that I managed to win.

"In the end, I managed to win something, no?"