Fan who caused Tour de France crash faces suspended sentence

Prosecutors in the trial of a roadside spectator who caused a huge crash on the first stage of the Tour de France in June ask for a four-month suspended jail sentence, according to a lawyer for the riders’ union.

The French woman, who was not been named, sent one cyclist tumbling to the ground, with dozens more falling as they rode into him, in a scene that grabbed global headlines.

With 45km to go in the opening stage, the crash saw German rider Tony Martin collide with the sign on a narrow stretch of road.

He went down, bringing several members of the peloton with him. Most were able to resume the race, but another German cyclist, Jasha Sütterlin, was forced to pull out of the Tour with a large haematoma to his wrist.

The woman, who turned herself in some days later, had been holding her cardboard sign towards a television camera while facing away from the oncoming cyclists.

Lawyer Romuald Palao — who represents the Professional Cyclists’ Association (CPA), which is party to the trial — told reporters after a hearing in the French city of Brest that the court would rule on the case on December 9.

“People on the side of the road must act responsibly.”

He said the riders’ union would not hesitate to file more lawsuits if such incidents were to happen again, adding that spectators taking selfies or posing for pictures or videos needed to be wary of the cyclists’ safety.


The woman, whom prosecutors earlier said felt ashamed of what she had done, told the court on Thursday that holding the sign up was a mistake and that she regretted it.

She is accused of involuntarily causing injury and putting the lives of others at risk.

A lawyer for the defendant declined to comment on the trial.

The Tour de France withdrew its own lawsuit in July, saying that while the safety of the race was key, the case had been blown out of proportion after it triggered a media frenzy.

Tour de France organisers on Thursday announced the route of the 2022 edition of the race.


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