Alaphilippe crashed out of the Belgian Monument inside the final 40 kilometres after he had instigated the decisive move and looked to be in with a chance at victory.
The fall happened when retired police officer Eddy Lissens pulled his race jury motorbike to the side of the road to let the leaders pass, and Alaphilippe rode into the back of the static bike at full speed, which sent him over the bars and left him with a broken hand.
Lissens, 64, told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws: “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and something like this has never happened to me. Afterwards I saw that Alaphilippe was just 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 and that really hit me hard. I also got all the sins of the world all over me on social media after the game. That touches me very deeply. I feel guilty, even though I can’t do anything about it.”
Lissens was one of a number of motorbike riders in front of the leading trio with around 35km left to race, who all decided to drop behind Alaphilippe, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel as they extended their advantage to more than 20 seconds on the chasers.
Lissens and the rider of the neutral service bike pulled to the right-hand side of the road, while the TV bikes stopped on the left.
Van Aert was leading the front group and easily avoided Lissens’ bike, while Van der Poel was forced to swerve to avoid crashing, but Alaphilippe was on the radio to his team car at that moment, so didn’t see Lissens and collided with the back of the motorbike.
Alaphilippe suffered two metacarpal fractures on his right hand and will undergo surgery on Monday (October 19).
In characteristic fashion, Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere was quick to talk about the incident involving his rider, saying the bike should not have been there.
Lissens, who said he received abuse on social media after the crash, added: “I didn’t do anything unusual. Such things happen 100 times in a race. This was just an unfortunate moment.”