The Slatest

Tour de France Vows to Sue Spectator Who Caused Massive Crash With Sign

Riders side and lay on the ground besides their crashed bikes.
Bryan Coquard and other riders after crashing during the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race, between Brest and Landerneau, on Saturday. Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images

The Tour de France will be filing a lawsuit against the spectator who caused a massive pileup when she stepped onto the road in the first stage of the race on Saturday. The woman was apparently eager for the TV cameras to capture her holding a large sign with the words “ALLEZ OPI-OMI,” a mixture of French and German that translates to “come on grandpa-grandma!” so she stepped onto the road and didn’t realize the peloton was fast approaching. German cyclist Tony Martin hit the spectator’s sign and went tumbling to the ground, causing a chain reaction that led many others to fall off their bicycles. It was the first of two crashes in that leg of the race.

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The Tour de France says the woman will face consequences for her actions. “We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” Pierre-Yves Thouault, the organization’s deputy director, told AFP. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone,” he said.

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One rider, Jasha Sütterlin, was injured and had to pull out of the race. Several others were hurt, including spectators. Among the ones that were hurt were Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli and Dutch rider Wout van Aert, both of whom looked as favorites to win the first leg of the race but suffered delays after they fell over. The rider who eventually won, Julian Alaphilippe, did so with blood dripping from his knee. “I hope everyone is OK. I’m calling on the fans to be careful. It’s nice to see the fans back on the side of the road, but please be careful,” Alaphilippe said.

If the Tour de France is going to sue the spectator, though, officials will first have to find her. As of Sunday, police in France were still looking for the spectator who fled the scene after the crash.

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