Tour de France organizers are withdrawing their lawsuit against a spectator who caused a massive crash during the first stage of the race.
On Saturday, the spectator had one foot on the roadway and was holding a sign that read “Allezopi-Omi,” which means “go.” She was looking toward the camera when one rider ran into her sign, toppling off his bike. Other riders in the tightly packed group couldn’t swerve and ran over him.
Shortly after the incident, the Tour said “the roadside fan who caused a giant crash at the Tour de France on Saturday is to be sued by the organizers,” France24 reported. “The woman concerned held up a banner slightly into the road and was looking straight at the television motorbike cameras with her back turned on the speeding peloton. German rider Tony Martin brushed past her and was knocked off balance racing near the head of the peloton, and when he fell it caused a horrifying domino effect ending in a tangle of bikes and bodies.”
“We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” Tour deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told Agence France-Presse. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this. Don’t spoil the show for everyone,” he said.
But that changed Thursday. “We are withdrawing our complaint,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme said.
look at this absolute nightmare that resulted pic.twitter.com/3Nf2QFMqHu
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 26, 2021
The woman who allegedly caused the crash has reportedly been arrested in France.
“The spectator who caused a massive pile-up during the first stage of the Tour de France has been arrested after presenting herself at a police station, a source close to the investigation told Reuters on Saturday. The spectator, a 30-year-old French woman, is in custody at a police station in Landerneau, Brittany, the northwest French region where the Tour de France, the world’s biggest cycling event, held its first four stages,” the news agency reported on Wednesday.
The woman is accused of involuntarily causing injury and putting the lives of others at risk.
World champion Julian Alaphilippe was involved in the pileup caused by the fan, the Associated Press reported, but was able to stay on his bike and win the leg.
“Throughout the day, enthusiastic fans took to the streets of picturesque villages and thousands of them lined the verdant roads of the Brittany countryside. But some were also careless,” the AP reported. “The first big spill was caused by a fan who brandished a cardboard sign and leaned into the path of veteran rider Tony Martin, who fell off his bike and took many others down in his slipstream. The Tour cautioned fans to ‘respect the safety of the riders’ and ‘Don’t risk everything for a photo or to get on television!’”
French authorities also launched an investigation, CNN reported.
“Law enforcement officials 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 on Facebook,” the outlet reported.