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.
? We're glad to have the public on the side of the road on the #TDF2021.— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) June 26, 2021
But for the Tour to be a success, respect the safety of the riders!
Don't risk everything for a photo or to get on television! pic.twitter.com/eA6nnhRhWv