'Opi-Omi' Tour de France spectator who caused crash on opening stage to appear in court

The spectator will be facing charges of causing 'involuntary injuries' and 'endangering others'

The Tour de France spectator who caused a crash on stage one will appear in court
(Image credit: Getty )

The 'Opi-Omi' spectator that caused a crash on stage one of the 2021 Tour de France will be appearing in court.

The 31-year-old women is set to face charges of causing "involuntary injuries" as well as "endangering others" on Thursday, October 14 according to a report by Ouest France (opens in new tab).

The incident happened on the opening day of the Tour on a 197.8km route from Brest to Landerneau in Brittany on June 26, where the woman stood out in the road, holding a cardboard sign that said 'Allez Opi-Omi'.

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Opi-Omi is a German term of endearment for grandparents.

Jumbo-Visma rider, Tony Martin rode into the back of the woman as he had nowhere to go on a narrow road while leading the peloton, bringing down most of the bunch. 

Following the incident, The Gendarmerie du Finistère called for witnesses on Facebook but four days later the woman turned herself in at Landerneau police station. 

The crash formed part of ongoing debates around rider safety in the professional peloton, sparked by a number of serious crashes including Fabio Jakobsen's fall in the 2020 Tour of Poland and Remco Evenepoel's crash in Il Lombardia. 

Martin, who was able to continue the Tour after the crash but eventually abandoned the on stage 11 after another crash, has since retired from the peloton, naming rider safety as one of the key reasons for his departure. 

Martin said: "The bad crashes this year have also caused me to question whether I am ready to continue to face the risks that our sport involves. I have decided that I do not want to, especially since race safety has not improved despite the many discussions about courses and barriers. I hope the cycling world will listen to the plans presented by my and other teams." 

According to reports, the spectator could face a fine of up to €15,000  (£12,000) and potentially one year in prison. The organisers of the Tour de France, ASO, has initially planned to take legal action against the spectator, but eventually decided to abandon the case.

Race director of the Tour Christian Prudhomme said: “This story has been blown out of proportion but we wish to remind everyone of the safety rules on the race. 

“If you come to the Tour, you hold your kid, you hold your pet and don’t cross the road carelessly. And, above all, you respect the riders – they’re the ones worthy of live TV.” 

But the men's professional riders' union, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), has pursued the case. 

Laura Mora, secretary general of the CPA, said: "It was a really irresponsible action,

"The riders had to suffer very serious consequences. We are not here to ask for money, but to ask for more respect and responsibility from the public." 

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