Police track down, arrest Tour de France spectator who caused massive crash

Woman responsible for mayhem went missing, but reports she fled country apparently incorrect

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This year’s Tour de France has been wracked by seemingly preventable injuries.
This year’s Tour de France has been wracked by seemingly preventable injuries.
Photo: AP

The sign looked like a joke.

“Allez Opi-Omi!” it read. Which, in a combination of French and German, translates to “go grandma and grandpa!” That’s what a moronic cycling supporter wrote on a piece of cardboard for Stage 1 of the Tour de France.

She wanted TV cameras to catch the sign. They did. Cameras also caught her stepping out into the road, with her back turned to the racers, causing a terrifying crash.

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I mean, look at that pile up!

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After the spectator created chaos on Saturday, she went missing. Huh? And later, reportedly, fled the country. Excuse me, what?

But, today, according to the French radio network RTL and the BBC, the spectator has been found and arrested by police. She is in custody in Landerneau, a small town at the western end of France — and where Stage 1 wrapped up.

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The spectator is reportedly accused of involuntarily causing injury. She also faces a fine of 1,500 euros. But there could be more legal troubles ahead.

After the accident, Tour de France organizers said they would sue the fan. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone,” Race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP. Hey, Thouault, let’s also, you know, maybe create safeguards on the course so that “the tiny minority of people who do this” don’t have a chance to “do this” to athletes/workers in the first place.

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One rider, Marc Soler, who fractured both arms in the infamous pile-up, hinted that he might sue the spectator as well. More athletes could follow suit [Editor’s note: Not sure if pun intended].

Other riders were hurt, too. Jasha Sütterlin was taken to the hospital, and eight others were treated by a race doctor. Many others had minor injuries.

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In Stages 2 and Stage 3 of the Tour, the over-the-top fan craziness stopped, but the crashes continued. That left riders at the start of Stage 4 to stage a minute-long pause to protest for safer racing conditions.