French Police Hunt ‘Grinning’ Tour De France Spectator Who Caused Major Crash With Cardboard Banner.
French police are searching for the ‘grinning’ spectator who brandished a cardboard banner that knocked down most of the Tour de France peloton on Saturday, June 26, causing a huge crash on Stage 1 of the 2021 race.
Police from the Finistère area in western France have opened an investigation into the cause of “unintentional injuries….by manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence” according to a statement posted on Facebook.
The main bunch were around 40km away from the finish of the opening stage at Landernau when Jumbo-Visma’s road captain Tony Martin collided with the sign that was waved out into the road.
Martin could do nothing to get out of the way, with a thick pack of riders on his left and a grass verge on his right, and had no choice but to ride straight into the cardboard sign. The oblivious fan had been holding up the banner, which contained a message to her grandparents- and stood grinning for the cameras.
First Martin’s teammates around him fell before it spread like wildfire and about three-quarters of the bunch were lying on the road in a pile of bikes and bodies. Initial reports suggested only one rider was forced to immediately abandon the Tour, the German Jasha Sutterlin (DSM).
The road was almost entirely blocked by stricken riders and broken bikes – with Pogacar and Martin’s team-mate Roglic among those caught up.
Tour de France organisers have also confirmed plans to sue the woman over the incident.
Deputy race director Pierre-Yves Thouault said: “We are suing this woman who behaved so badly. We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
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