Tour de France crash: Police searching for woman who caused mass pile-up


French police are looking for the woman who caused a huge crash during the first stage of the Tour de France yesterday.

The unidentified spectator left over a dozen cyclists injured after leaning into the road with a cardboard sign that read 'Allez Opi-Omi', which translates to 'Go Grandpa-Grandma.'

Video footage of the incident showed the woman waving her sign at the passing TV motorbikes before wiping out most of the Peloton when Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin crashed into it and went to ground, causing the pile-up.

It left the road almost entirely blocked by riders, prompting cycling reporter Daniel McMahon to label it “the worst Tour de France crash I’ve ever seen” on Twitter.

After the incident, Martin said: “We had everything under control until that crash. I brought the boys up the right side of the road, but slammed into that spectator’s sign. It all happened very quickly, so suddenly almost the entire crew was on the ground. Many spectators can behave respectfully, but unfortunately not this one.”

According to The Daily Mail, prosecutors say that the woman could be charged with 'deliberately violating safety regulations and so causing injuries that might prevent someone working for up to three months', which could result in a fine of approximately £13,000 or up to a year in prison.

Additionally, Tour de France organisers are planning to sue the woman over the incident.

Deputy race director Pierre-Yves Thouault said: "We are suing this woman who behaved so badly. We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don't spoil the show for everyone."

“Everyone is happy that there are crowds back again at the roadside, but everyone must pay attention,” said Julian Alaphilippe of UCI WorldTeam Deceuninck–Quick-Step.

“I call on all the fans to be cautious. I lost a bit of time in the first crash, but I hope everyone is OK.”

World road champion Alaphilippe of France took the yellow jersey despite being caught up in the crash after opening up a huge gap on his rivals and holding on to his advantage to secure both the stage win and the overall lead.

British four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome didn’t fare as well, though, falling victim to a second crash that occurred when more than 50 riders came together 8km from the end of stage one.

He finished stage one 14 minutes behind Alaphilippe.

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