A fan sparked a huge crash during the first stage of the Tour de France Saturday. The spectator was evidently trying to get the attention of the TV cameras and wasn’t looking at the incoming peloton while stepping slightly onto the road and holding a large sign that extended onto the path of the cyclists who were fast approaching. German cyclist Tony Martin apparently didn’t have enough time to get out of the way and hit the spectator’s sign. Martin came tumbling down and there was a domino effect leading to lots of riders hitting the ground. One rider, Jasha Sütterlin, was forced to pull out of the race with an injury.
The sign read “Allez Opi-Omi!” which is a mix of French and German and means “come on grandpa-grandma” The ensuing crash, which took place with around 28 miles left in the first stage of the Tour de France delayed a lot of riders as some waited for new bikes and others who were at the back had to wait for the road to clear. Cycling reporter Daniel McMahon called it “the worst Tour de France crash I’ve ever seen.”
Tour de France sent a message to fans on Twitter after the crash: “We’re glad to have the public on the side of the road on the #TDF2021. But for the Tour to be a success, respect the safety of the riders! Don’t risk everything for a photo or to get on television!”