Tour de France organisers will not sue fan who caused mass pile-up on stage one

The spectator was arrested earlier this week and could face a prison sentence

Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty)

The spectator whose cardboard sign caused a massive crash on stage one of this year’s Tour de France will no longer be sued by the race organisers.

On Saturday, the unnamed 30-year-old woman held out a sign that read ‘Allez Opi Omi’ and looked at television cameras as the peloton passed with 47km left to race.

Tony Martin, rider for Jumbo-Visma, was unable to avoid the sign and he crashed into it, causing dozens of riders behind him to fall. Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM abandoned the race due to the incident.

The accident caused furore in and out of the peloton, and Tour organisers ASO had initially suggested that they would seek damages from the fan.

However, at the start of stage six on Thursday, race director Christian Prudhomme told Reuters that they would no longer be pursuing this course of action, instead pushing the message that all fans have responsibilities when attending the race.

“We are withdrawing our complaint,” Prudhomme told the news organisation. “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.”

Prudhomme did not explain further why the race organisers were pulling back from their complaint, although it has been acknowledged that it would have been difficult to win such a case given the nature of the sport and how fans cannot be kept back from the race. 

The woman, however, still faces potential ramifications from the incident. On Wednesday it was reported that she was in custody at a police station in Landerneau in Brittany.

She is accused of involuntarily causing injury and placing the life of others at risk through her actions. 

French newspaper L’Equipe has reported that the fan could be given a large fine of around £12,900 and even face a prison sentence of up to a year.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

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.