WATCH: Spectator at Tour de France causes massive crash after holding sign in path of oncoming cyclists


(NEXSTAR) – The group that organizes the Tour de France is filing a complaint against a spectator who caused a massive crash during the first day of the race.

The spectator, who reportedly fled after the crash, had been holding up a sign reading “Allez Opi-Omi!” (loosely translated as “Go Grandpa-Grandpa”) approximately 45 kilometers from the Stage 1 finish line, Sports Illustrated reported.

In footage of the incident, she can be seen facing away from the oncoming bikes, extending the sign into the road just as German cyclist Tony Martin approaches. Martin hits the sign and crashes to the ground, causing a pile-up involving dozens of other cyclists.

A huge crash at #TDF2021 this morning was caused when a spectator held out a sign and struck a rider.

Jasha Sütterlin was forced to withdraw from the race due to an injury sustained in the crash, according to @LeTour.

— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 26, 2021

Photos from the aftermath show several of the cyclists battered, bruised and requiring medical attention.

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The official Twitter account of the Tour de France later called out the spectator, albeit indirectly, on social media.

“We’re glad to have the public on the side of the road on the #TDF2021,” the post read. “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!”

Cyril Lemoine of France is helped by medical personnel after becoming involved in a crash on the first day of the Tour de France. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, later told news outlet Ouest-France that the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which organizes the race, was filing a complaint against the spectator, who was not publicly identified. The outlet further reported that she fled the scene after the accident.

Fans of the Tour de France, meanwhile, have called Saturday’s crash the worst ever seen at the race.

“Allez Opi-Omi… shame on you!” wrote one Twitter user, alongside a photo of the cyclists piled up in the roadway.

Allez Opi-Omi.. shame on you! #tdf2021 #TourdeFrance

— Tour de France 2021 (@TourdeFrance21) June 26, 2021

The massive accident was only one of two crashes that occurred on the first day of the race. The other, involving dozens of cyclists, took place nearer the finish line, NBC Sports reported.

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Despite the accidents, cyclist Julian Alaphilippe of France — who was reportedly involved in the first crash — ended up winning Stage 1 of the race. Stages 2 through 21 will take place daily over the coming weeks, excluding two scheduled rest days.

This year’s race will cover a total of just over 3,414 kilometers, or 2,121 miles, before concluding on July 18.


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