The organisers of the Tour de France say they plan to sue a spectator who caused what has been called the race’s ‘worst-ever’ crash during its opening stage – just as soon as they manage to find them.
Police are currently trying to identify the mystery person, who brought down almost the entire main peloton of riders after attempting to get themselves on camera with a large homemade sign that hit one of the leading cyclists, setting off a disastrous chain reaction.
The spectator disappeared as soon as the crash took place, leading local gendarmes to begin a quest to track them down. A spokesperson for the local police force told L’Equipe that the incident was a ‘manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence’.
Organisers of Le Tour have threatened legal action to deter spectators from causing similar accidents in the future. ‘We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,’ race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault said, adding, ‘We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.’
One cycling journalist described the accident as ‘the worst Tour de France crash I’ve ever seen’, with many fans saying that the spectator was lucky not to have caused more serious injuries.
According to Cycling News, eight riders were treated by a race doctor following the crash, with one taken to hospital after suffering a suspected broken hand, though it’s assumed that several other riders had injuries that were not reported.
Cyclists at the Tour de France have repeatedly complained over the years of over-enthusiastic spectators getting in the way of the race and endangering riders.
In a tweet, cyclist Jasper Stuyven wrote, ‘Great to see still many spectators are loving our sport and cheering for us, but please, stay on the side of the road, not on the road!’
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