You’ve probably seen the video of the infamous Tour de France crash by now (and if not, we’ve got you covered).
The Tour returned to its usual late June time slot and welcomed fans under more normal circumstances this year. However, an overzealous fan stole the show by causing a massive crash.
The scene looked much more normal than it did last year, when Covid forced the first-ever peacetime postponement of the event. That scene would not remain normal for long, though.
A fan posing with a sign on a narrow stretch of road caused cyclist Tony Martin to crash, starting a domino effect that blocked the street temporarily.
According to ABC News, the 30-year-old fan turned herself in to police, expressing feelings of shame and fear, but the Tour dropped its threat of a lawsuit.
ABC also quotes Tour director Pierre-Yves Thouault, who says, “We don’t want to look like we are flogging a dead horse. But we remind you of the safety rules.”
Unhappy – and Injured – Cyclists
Per Reuters, riders protested unsafe conditions by stopping for one full minute and then riding the next 10 kilometers “at a snail’s pace.”
Reuters also notes that there have been several other pile-ups on narrow roads. Thus, it seems that one caused by a fan just exacerbated the riders’ complaints.
Tour tracker Cycling Stage says that seven riders withdrew in the first four stages and lists four prominent contenders who could not finish after sustaining injuries.
This AFP feature notes that spectators can wait for as long as six hours to get a 30-second glimpse at the cyclists. It also says that a parade of sponsored goodies is an almost equally big draw for the excited spectators.
Here’s a look at this festive caravan.
In a relatively unstructured environment on narrow roads, it is understandable that fans are jockeying for positions and that riders are quite unnerved by the spectacle.
Hopefully, fans will respect the competitors and this historic sporting spectacle can continue with fewer incidents
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