An injured Tour de France cyclist wants to sue the spectator who caused one of the race’s biggest crashes.
On Saturday, June 26, the peloton was 45km from the end of the first stage, with the cyclists riding from Brest to Landerneau. However, it ended in catastrophe when a woman’s sign clipped one of the riders, causing him and many, many others to tumble. At least 21 suffered injuries, with dozens more having minor scrapes.
The unnamed spectator was holding a sign read ‘Allez Opi Omi’ – translated as a mix of French and German to mean ‘Go Grandma Grandpa’ – and has since been arrested by police. Now, one of the affected cyclists wants to take her to court.
Marc Soler ended up finishing the first stage in last place, and couldn’t go on to compete in the second stage due to suffering fractures to his elbows and wrist. It came after he abandoned stage 12 in the Giro d’Italia due to hurting himself in a fall, after which he returned to racing in the Tour de Suisse. However, his Tour de France was brutally cut short.
‘I don’t know what to do, I’m thinking of taking the spectator to court, because that’s an entire Tour canned and I feel very angry,’ he said, as per Cycling News.
‘The Giro was really frustrating because it was a race I had prepared for over a long time and I had a great opportunity. But the Tour is even worse, because it wasn’t just a race incident, it was because of a spectator who obviously doesn’t like cycling. All that preparation has gone into the bin,’ Soler said.
‘The fall happened at a point in the race where the road narrowed and we were trying to be well-placed, we were near the front and then I saw all the Jumbo-Visma riders going down and [Mike] Teunissen crashed right in front of me. I went flying, somersaulted and landed hard on my hands. They both hurt, and so did my face where my glasses had broken and my shoulder too. I tried to get up but I couldn’t, I didn’t have any strength in my arms,’ he added.
Soler is among some of the worst-injured, along with Cyril Lemoine, who suffered four broken ribs, a head wound and a punctured lung, and Ignatas Konovalovas, who was taken to hospital for head trauma following the crash.
As per AFP, Tour de France Deputy 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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