19 October 2020

Motorbike rider who collided with Alaphilippe at Tour of Flanders ‘feels terrible’ for ending Frenchman’s hopes

The motorbike rider who collided with Julian Alaphilippe at the Tour of Flanders says he feels ‘terrible’ about the crash.

The world road race champion was in the leading trio alongside Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert when he came tumbling down in theatrical fashion after failing to swerve to the left to avoid Eddy Lissens’ TV motorbike.

The Frenchman broke two fingers in the crash as his hopes of a first ever Flanders victory went up in smoke in the most bizarre circumstances.

And Lissens, who maintained he did not do anything wrong, was deeply apologetic about ending Alaphilippe’s race.

Lissens said the guilt of the crash has ‘hit him really hard’ (PA Images)

"The breakaway had built up a lead of more than 20 seconds, and so, together with the Shimano [neutral service] motorbike, I decided to take up a position behind the break," Lissens told Het Laatste Nieuws.

"We let ourselves drop back: the TV motorbike did that on the left side of the road and we chose the right side. Should we also have done that on the other side of the road? Anyone who says such a thing has never ridden a race.

"I didn't do anything unusual. Such things happen 100 times in a race. This was just an unfortunate moment.

"I felt terrible. I've been doing this for 20 years and nothing like this has ever happened to me.

"Afterwards, I remember seeing that Alaphilippe had been talking into his microphone and could no longer avoid me. I feel sorry for Alaphilippe. His injuries are bad, but he also had the chance to win the Tour of Flanders, and that's really hit me hard.

"That's affected me very deeply. I feel guilty, even though I can't do anything about it."

Van der Poel (left) beat Van Aert in a thrilling sprint finish after Alaphilippe’s crash (Zuma Press/PA Images)

The Frenchman was subsequently relegated from that race for deviating from his racing line in the sprint.

Van der Poel went on to claim Tour of Flanders victory against long-time rival Van Aert in what was a sensational finish to a thrilling day’s racing.

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