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Fan Holding Sign Causes Biggest, Dumbest Pile-Up of Tour de France

Crashes and pile-ups are not that uncommon in the world of motorsports and cycling, but they’re hardly ever so stupid. Stage 1 of Tour de France kicked off on Saturday and, with just 28 miles (45 km) to go to the finish line, a massive crash brought down the entire peloton.
Fan looking for extra attention brings down the peloton during Stage 1 of Tour de France 9 photos
Chris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates RidingChris Froome and Teammates Riding
And it was all because one “fan” thought it would be a smart idea to get onto the track so that she made sure she got on camera, as she was holding a sign for her grandparents. The idea might seem adorable (in theory at least), but it’s far from it when you put it into practice, by getting in front of the peloton, at an international event for which athletes have been training for months.

You can see the crash in the videos below. The woman, wearing a yellow jacket and a cardboard sign reading “Allez Oppi-Omi” (“Go grandpa-grandma”), leaned over the course to make sure her cardboard was visible in the live TV coverage. Talk about going the extra length for attention!

She was with her back to the peloton, so she didn’t even see the riders coming – but she felt them, as Tony Martin (Jumbo–Visma) hit her placard. Martin has no place to maneuver to avoid the cardboard sign. He went down and, with him, the entire Jumbo-Visma team, and then dozens of other riders. The term used to describe the pile-up in the media was “carnage,” an accurate choice: riders went down, bikes flew off the track and some even hit by-standers. It was one of the biggest and definitely the dumbest crash in the history of the event.

This is the first time Tour de France is held after eased restrictions, and it’s not the way organizers would have liked to welcome fans back to the sports. In light of the incident, Tour de France is reminding fans that their enthusiasm should not translate into a lack of respect for the athletes and the sport. One could argue that enthusiasm played no part here.

Ouest-France reports that organizers have filed a complaint against the fan but she’s gone missing. Apparently, right after the race, when officials tried to find her, they learned that she’d boarded a plane to her home country, Germany.

Stage 1 of Tour de France ended with world champion Julian Alaphilippe in first position, followed by Michael Matthews and Primoz Roglic.

Editor's note: Gallery shows Tour de France winner Chris Froome on a training session for this year's edition.


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