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Tour de France spectator arrested after causing pile-up with cardboard sign


A spectator who caused a huge crash on the first stage of this year’s Tour de France has been arrested, according to reports.

Race chiefs threatened to pursue legal action after the culprit’s cardboard sign struck Tony Martin’s bike, prompting an accident which downed dozens of riders in the peloton.

French police opened an investigation into the incident and appealed for witnesses before locating and arresting the person responsible in Landerneau, Brittany – the destination of the first stage.

That’s according to RTL , while further reports from France claim the perpetrator is facing a fine of €1,500 on charges of involuntarily causing injury.



The culprit appeared to pose for television cameras without realising the peloton's proximity
The culprit appeared to pose for television cameras without realising the peloton’s proximity

With 45 kilometres remaining on the route from Brest to Landerneau, the spectator stepped onto the right edge of the road with their back turned.

This was so their sign – which was overhanging further into the road – would be picked up by television cameras bearing the message ‘Allez Opi-Omi’, which translates from German and French as ‘Go Grandpa and Grandma’.

The spectator appeared to be entirely unaware of their proximity to the peloton and Martin had no room to move to his left, meaning his bike collided with the cardboard sign.



Martin was felled by the cardboard sign, prompting a mass pile-up
Martin was felled by the cardboard sign, prompting a mass pile-up

The Jumbo-Visma rider’s contact resulted in a ripple effect through the peloton and the crash left Team DSM star Jasha Sutterlin in hospital with an injured hand.

Meanwhile, Movistar rider Marc Soler managed to finish the stage but scans later showed he suffered fractures in both arms and he was forced to abandon the Tour.

A further eight riders were attended to by race doctors and many sustained minor injuries, with race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault threatening to sue the culprit.



The crash rippled through the peloton and left numerous riders requiring medical attention

“We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone,” he said.

Police in the Finistere region located the person who caused the crash after issuing a plea for witnesses on Facebook.

L’Equipe claims the alleged €1,500 fine could be the least of the spectator’s worries if individual riders decide to pursue action, as Soler has already hinted he might.



Stage one was thrown into disarray - and the culprit may be facing serious consequences
Stage one was thrown into disarray – and the culprit may be facing serious consequences

“It was such a difficult day,” said Soler’s teammate Enric Mas following the crash. “The first stage of the Tour is always about avoiding crashes, with lots of stress.”

He added: “I was one of the last few riders able to get past the first crash, with Miguel Angel [Lopez] and Marc, right behind me, then involved.

“It’s so awful, it was such bad luck – I hope both Marc, who seems to be suffering a lot with his wrist, and Miguel Angel can recover time and energy.”





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