The first stage of this year’s Tour de France kicked off on Saturday and one avoidable incident shook up every team in the peloton. With 45 kilometres to go, a fan holding a sign for the TV cameras (not watching the race) clipped Tony Martin (Team Jumbo-Visma) on the right-hand side of the road and caused a massive crash.
Not the way anyone wanted to start their Tour de France 😪 #tdf2021
— FloBikes (@flobikes) June 26, 2021
Almost the entire peloton went down in the chaotic pileup at the top of Saint-Rivoal. As bikes and bodies flew across the road, many cyclists and spectators were injured. As of Sunday, Team DSM rider Jasha Sutterlin had to pull out of the Tour after just one stage and other riders, such as Marc Hirschi, are being monitored for their injuries.
“Minority of people”
“We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” the deputy director of the Tour, Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
The Gendarmerie du Finistère, a French police force similar to the RCMP, are searching for the woman who caused the incident. A Facebook post from the government organization notes that a judicial investigation has been launched for”unintentional injury with incapacity not exceeding three months due to a willful violation of a safety or prudence obligation.”
The statement says that the spectator left the scene before the investigators arrived. She was wearing glasses, blue jeans, a red and white striped sweater, a yellow rain jacket, and was holding a sign that said “ALLEZ OPI-OMI!”
Opi-Omi is a German term of endearment for grandparents. The Gendarmerie du Finistère is asking anyone with information on the spectator to come forward.
“I hope Omi & Opi are proud of you..” said Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) in a Tweet. “On a serious note though; great to see still many spectators are loving our sport and cheering for us, but please, stay on the side of the road, not on the road!”
Many other pro cyclists, such as Wout van Aert and Daryl Impey echoed his emotions on social media Saturday night. Geraint Thomas, who managed to get out unscathed, was able to find a positive clip of the shocking incident.
The real star of the show today, nice work mum 👏 https://t.co/WYFOonnK9V
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) June 26, 2021
Toms Skujiņš thanked the mechanics for their efforts in repairing the damages of the day.
Tonight's real MVPs are all the mechanics fixing up them bikes. Thank you 🙌
— Toms Skujiņš (@Tomashuuns) June 26, 2021