Tour de France 'Opi-Omi' spectator avoids jail sentence after causing stage one crash

The woman initially went into hiding, later admitting that she felt "ashamed"

Opi Omi
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The woman whose infamous cardboard sign caused a massive pile-up in the peloton on the first stage of the 2021 Tour de France has been spared jail.

A trial into the incident began in October with the prosecution requesting that the unnamed 31-year-old should be given a suspended four month prison sentence, arguing that she had put lives at risk.

The court in Brest passed its verdict on December 10, handing the female a fine of €1,200 and €500 in damages, remarking that it had reached its conclusion after finding her guilty of "endangering the lives of others" and "wilful injury".

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, the woman went missing for four days amid a furious public outcry and subsequent media storm. She later handed herself into police.

During the trial, the prosecution made it clear that the woman could be given a 12 month prison sentence and a maximum fine of €15,000, but the returned verdict was much less.

At the time, the Tour de France race organisers ASO threatened to sue the offender before later retracting that intention. Many riders, however, remain angry at the event.

It occurred with around 45km left to race on the opening stage when the women held out a large sign reading 'Allez Opi-Omi'.

Tony Martin, who was driving the peloton forward, was unable to avoid the sign and crashed into it, tumbling to the ground and bringing with him around a third of the entire bunch. Movistar's Marc Soler finished the stage but quit in the evening because of injuries sustained.

Martin, meanwhile, recently said that he brought forward his retirement due to feeling unsafe in the peloton. 

The incident was one of a number of crashes during the first week of the 2021 Tour, with several high-profile riders abandoning, including Primož Roglič and Jack Haig.

Next year's Tour de France route starts outside of France and in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, where the peloton will race three days in the country before beginning the journey south back to France.

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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.


Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.