Julian Alaphilippe says he bears no ill-will to the moto rider he crashed into at the Tour of Flanders earlier this month, resulting in the world champion falling heavily and breaking two bones in his hand.
The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider was on a front trio with Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert and eventual winner Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Fenix when they rounded a bend just as the moto rider, a member of the race jury, came to a halt.
Some social media users blamed the commissaire for the crash, others Alaphilippe for not paying attention since he was on his race radio at the time, and others still pinned the crash on van der Poel, saying he swung out deliberately late, giving Alaphilippe no time to react.
🇫🇷 😱 CHUTE D'ALAPHILIPPE ! Quelle terrible fin de saison pour le Français...
— Eurosport France (@Eurosport_FR) October 18, 2020
But talking to L’Equipe, Alaphilippe, who is recovering from surgery on the two broken metacarpal bones in his right hand, said he didn’t blame anyone else for the crash.
"If I look back on my fall, I am lucky. It could have ended up much worse", he reflected.
"Some say I wasn't paying enough attention, but it has nothing to do with that. I saw Mathieu van der Poel swerve at the last minute and just couldn't go anywhere."
"I don't blame anyone,” he continued. "Not even the motorcyclist. No, really.
“There is nothing to blame on that man, he shouldn’t worry. I hope to reassure him with this interview. I don't blame him and anyway, I'm not a vindictive man. It's just something that can happen in a race."
He revealed that he had received messages of support from Van Aert and van der Poel, and spoke about his recovery from his operation.
“I didn't think I’d be in so much pain after my operation. My hand was badly swollen. I slept badly", he said.
"But I am definitely not complaining about the operation, because I will recover faster now. With that injury I had no choice but to go under the knife."
"At the moment I’m in a lot less pain. I’m home. In ten days the plaster cast on my arm should be removed.
“At the beginning of November we’ll meet the team again for the first time and I’ll take the opportunity to visit the hospital in Herentals again.”
Looking ahead to 2021, he said: “I feel in good shape. It's not like after other seasons where I'm sick of it.
“I'm eager to be able to start a new campaign and make my planning – although we still have that virus of course, which makes everything uncertain.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.