Ian Patrick, FISM News
As the world of sports begins to turn again following a quasi-hiatus from the coronavirus lockdowns, so too does the world of unfortunate spectator incidents. In this case, the Tour de France was almost ruined on the first day by an eager fan.
The first stage of the multi-day tour began on June 26 in Brest, located in northern France. About halfway through this first day, a spectator holding a sign caused a massive and tumultuous crash. While she did have her foot on the track, her sign ended up hitting German cyclist Tony Martin. The accident sent Martin down along with many of the other participants behind him creating a massive pileup.
See the moment when a Tour de France spectator caused a pileup after a German rider, Tony Martin, hit a sign they were holding on the side of the road. https://t.co/sdPmfVjvj6 pic.twitter.com/nXCG2Eb1Xb
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 29, 2021
Nine cyclists were injured due to this crash and twelve more were injured in the same day from a separate incident. The spectator-caused crash became an international focus, and soon the woman who caused it became a fugitive of sorts.
The day after the crash French prosecutors announced an investigation to find the woman, who disappeared shortly after the incident and before any authorities arrived on the scene. The woman is charged with involuntarily causing injury and putting the lives of others at risk, which could include a fine and up to a year in prison. Pierre-Yves Thouault, vice president of Tour de France, announced that they intended to sue the woman as well.
For a while, the search for the woman proved unfruitful. Besides a description of what she was wearing at the time of the crash, authorities could only speculate on where she was from and where she will go. At one point, it was reported that the woman had fled France altogether.
However, it was recently reported that the woman turned herself in to a police station in Landerneau, Brittany where she currently remains in custody.