Tour De France Threatens Lawsuit Over Fan’s Crash-Causing Behavior

Le Tour de FrancePhoto Credit: Shutterstock

In a post-pandemic world, sporting events and spectacles that draw large gatherings have faced plenty of obstacles and delays as it is. With the Tour de France finally returning in full effect, after a year-long delay, cyclists cannot afford any situation that derails their progress; unfortunately, on Saturday, an unprecedented situation did just that.

The Tour de France experienced two crashes this weekend, the first of which occurred during the first stage of the race due to a pileup of cyclists after an enthusiastic spectator holding a sign that read “ALLEZ OPI-OMI” (go grandpa and grandma in both French and German) decided to step into the path in pursuit of her fifteen minutes of fame. This fan’s entrance into the path, to get her sign picked up on the television cameras, set off a chain of unfortunate events beginning with German cyclist Tony Martin’s fall, and yielding to a crash involving several cyclists and spectators.

The unidentified female fan is rumored to have fled the country after causing the scene and has yet to be found, though the Landerneau police continue their investigation. The stakes are high and The Tour de France is eager to find the culprit as they intend to sue this woman for her exceedingly disrespectful and poor behavior.

Not only does The Tour de France intend to sue the fan due to her dangerous and race-derailing improper etiquette, but Pierre-Yves Thouault, the organization’s deputy director expects to inspire both fear and sense into the small population of fans who would think and dare to conduct themselves in such a way. Over the course of the 21-day race, the cyclists cycle through various terrains and both urban and rural areas; because of this, spectator control can sometimes be exceedingly difficult to ensure. Spectators do bring vivacity and encouragement and are an integral part of the tour, but as demonstrated, can also pose a dangerous and unwanted threat. Thouault states that rebellious individuals must be warned that this behavior is unacceptable, has severe and lasting legal consequences and ultimately spoils The Tour de France show for everyone.

According to cyclists, the impact was definitely stressful and disappointing for spectators but exponentially so for the cyclists themselves. Cyclist and former winner of The Tour de France, Geraint Thomas, confirms this and claims that instead of enjoying the race, he was just aiming to concentrate on safely staying on his bike and making it through the disrupted race. Tony Martin, who was fortunately uninjured in the crash, urges respect towards the cyclists on behalf of the spectators, via social media. This message is one that seems to be of value for all competitors as they’ve worked hard to pursue their dreams at The Tour de France. The winner of Saturday’s stage, Julian Alaphilippe, hoped for the health and safety of all competitors and called for the fans to be smart and careful. Saturday’s spectacle will likely continue to maintain relevancy as the search for the highly disruptive female fan continues.