The Tour de France
organizers reportedly intend to sue a spectator who caused a massive crash
with a sign on Saturday, but first they must identify the individual.
The Tour de France's deputy director, Pierre-Yves Thouault, told AFP that the race intends to sue the fan "so that the tiny minority of people
who do this do not spoil the show for everyone."
According to French news
site Ouest France, the spectator, who is widely reported to be a woman, fled the scene.
A fan caused a massive crash at today
's Tour de France, taking down a large group of riders in the first stage (via @NBCSSports)pic.twitter.com/1r7ZROEGzD — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 26, 2021
On the first day of the race, the fan was holding a cardboard sign in the path of oncoming cyclists when her sign collided with German cyclist Tony Martin, resulting in a violent pileup of bodies and bicycles.
“Go, Grandpa, Grandma!” her sign said in a mix of French and German.
Martin, who was knocked to the ground and hit by cyclists directly behind him, said he didn't have time to react after the fan moved in front of him.
“I saw the lady, I saw the sign, but she turned the sign into the road at the last second, so there was no time for me to react,” Martin explained later.
He has since urged those who do not respect the athletes, who travel
at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, and who regard the race as a "circus" to simply stay at home.
“We don’t want you here. You jeopardize our lives and dreams for what we work
so hard for!” he wrote on Instagram
Jasha Sutterlin, a German cyclist, was unable to finish the race due to injuries sustained in the horrific crash, which broke bikes and covered athletes in blood.
Witnesses at the scene have been asked to assist authorities in identifying the fan.
Several other riders were killed in a second crash that day.
The race organizers have since reminded the public to be respectful of the riders, while also sharing a video on Twitter of what spectators should not do, which includes people running into the road, blowing colored smoke in the faces of cyclists, and touching passing cyclists, as well as an unleashed dog
causing a crash.
We are delighted to have the public on the side of the road during the #TDF2021. However, in order for the Tour to be a success, please respect the riders' safety! Don't risk everything for a photograph or to appear on television
! pic.twitter.com/eA6nnhRhWv — Tour de FranceTM (@LeTour) June 26, 2021