The initial breakaway had been formed at the front of the race, but the gap was still hovering at about 40 seconds with teams still thinking about getting one of their riders in the move.
Before the breakaway had been decided there was a bit of aggression at the front of the peloton as Otto Vergaerde (Alpecin-Fenix) seemed to target Yevgeniy Fedorov (Astana-Premier Tech) with a hard elbow. Fedorov stayed upright and surged back to the front of the peloton to have some words and a swerve at Vergaerde, though he didn't come close to contacting the Belgian rider.
Both riders were subsequently disqualified from the race, with Vergaerde on the end of some angry words from the staff in the Astana team car.
There was apparently some action beforehand that was the start of the aggression between the disqualified pair, not caught by the TV cameras.
According to Sporza, Alpecin-Fenix DS, Christophe Roodhoft, said: "Before Otto's move, Fedorov misbehaved terribly. He intended to crash Otto and Lukas Pöstlberger (the Bora-Hansgrohe in the background with his hands upraised). Otto responds in the picture. He had both hands on the bars, but unfortunately, he has reacted with an impulse. And if the ref shows red, you have to leave the field."
Vergaerde also spoke to Sporza from the road. "Fedorov still wanted to go to the early break, but he slammed his brakes. I almost crashed and reacted. It is a great pity to let the team down like this, because I was indicated to be in the lead. I can't say much. The jury will probably want to set an example. It's sour."