'Stay at home if you don’t respect the riders' - Jumbo-Visma boss blasts intruding fans at Tour de France

Multiple riders caught out by incident 50km into stage 15

Crash on stage 15 of the 2023 Tour de France
Crash on stage 15 of the 2023 Tour de France
(Image credit: GCN / Eurosport)

Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge has blasted the spectator who caused a mass pile-up on stage 15 of the Tour de France, saying that such fans should "stay at home" if they cannot respect the race.

About 60km into Sundays stage a fan's arm appeared to strike a Jumbo-Visma rider, while the peloton was travelling at speed. They went down, which meant many riders behind were also caught out in the same incident.

Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Kevin Vermaerke (Team dsm-firmenich), and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) were among the many who hit the ground. All the riders involved were soon back cycling, although some looked to be riding more gingerly than others.

Jumbo Visma's Nathan Van Hooydonck was among those that hit the ground hard, with the Belgian spending time on the ground before he got going again. Coming so early in a hard Alpine stage, there must have been fears at Jumbo that the team helping defend Jonas Vingegaard's yellow jersey would be seriously depleted.

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Jumbo-Visma came to the front of the peloton after the crash, slowing it down to allow riders to catch back on. It was of similar magnitude to the crash early on stage 14 which saw the race neutralised, and resulted in multiple riders abandoning the race.

Plugge quote-tweeted a video of the crash, saying: "My goodness. Here is very clear what’s happening. What on earth are you doing there?! You just hit a couple of riders off the bike. Stay at home if you don’t respect the riders."

A close-up of the race footage showed the Jumbo-Visma rider hitting the spectator at speed, causing the crash. It is not the first time that fans have had an impact on racing at this year's Tour, with Steff Cras (TotalEnergies) heading out of the race after hitting a fan on stage eight, and Lilian Calmejane being taken out by a flag which caught his bike on stage nine.

Cras tweeted at the time: "When a spectator step[s] up more than one meter up the road and don’t move when the peloton arrive than you better stay home [sic]. You have no respect for the riders. I hope you feel really guilty! I have to leave Le Tour because of you."

The Tour de France's organisers have stepped up efforts to remind fans of their responsibilities in recent years, with cars on the course broadcasting safety messages, and adverts on TV telling people how to behave on the side of the road.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.