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Possible Jail Time, Lawsuits for Dumb Fan Behind Massive Tour de France Crash

The Tour de France has returned for another edition after almost one year and a half, but the debut was marred by an incident that brought down dozens of riders, caused serious delays and justifiable anger. One fan stood in front of the peloton to make sure she got on camera, and in the process, caused one of the biggest pile-ups in the history of the event.
Fan causes massive pile-up at Tour de France, is now in serious trouble 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
You can see the scene as it unfolded on Saturday in the videos below. The woman, believed to be a German tourist, stood over the road with a handmade cardboard sign that read “Go Grandpa-Grandma,” in an obvious bid to be as visible as possible to TV cameras for the live coverage. The peloton was rushing behind her on a narrow stretch of the road.

Rider Tony Martin (Jumbo–Visma) tried to avoid contact but had nowhere to swerve, so he hit the cardboard sign and went down. Dozens of other riders came down as well, including the entire Jumbo-Visma team. Riders were injured (German rider Jasha Sutterlin had to abandon the race right away, and Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli and Dutch rider Wout van Aert were injured), bikes came apart, and the race was delayed by several minutes.

No fans were hurt, and neither was the woman who caused it all: according to reports, she packed up her cardboard sign and slowly walked away from the crowd the second she realized what she’d done.

Other reports note that she booked a flight home back to Germany right away, so by the time authorities tried to reach her she was already gone. Now, Finistère police have issued a call for witnesses to try and find her. This is now a possibly criminal investigation, with the woman facing charges of “unintentional injuries.… by manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence,” according to a Facebook post.

Even if she doesn’t end up (briefly) in jail, she could still be in trouble: organizers and riders are considering legal action against her. The Amaury Sports Organization, the Tour de France organizer, has filed a formal complaint with the police against her, but it's also taking the matter to court, as Tour deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault tells AFP. “We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” Thouault says, adding that they want to make her an example of how not to ruin the sport you’re supposed to be enjoying.

In the aftermath of the crash, the only one to have been caused by such a stupid stunt in the history of the Tour, athletes, officials, and true fans have decried the situation. If you’re on the sideline to cheer on your favorite and get some quality entertainment, then do that by staying off the track. If you want to see yourself, they say, just have a look in the mirror. It’s safer and smarter than what this lady did.

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


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