A woman standing as a spectator on the roadside of the Tour the France opening stage Saturday produced a disaster. She stepped in front of the racing pack holding a cardboard sign, appearing to display a message for the television cameras, in fact a hello message to her grandparents, but her action caused dozens of cyclists to crash. The sign hit German rider Tony Martin who was cycling near the head of the pack. Martin fell followed by subsequent crash of dozens of riders behind him. The huge pile-up effectively blocked the road with stricken riders and broken bikes. A total of 21 riders were injured. The crash held up the race for five minutes. After incident, three riders have withdrawn from the race. “We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” Tour deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told media.
Law enforcement officials from the Finistère area in western France have opened an investigation into the cause of “unintentional injuries….by manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence.” Amaury Sports Organization, the Tour de France organizer, had made a complaint to the authorities. The 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins said he had no sympathy for the fan involved, who may not have meant to cause such a crash. The Tour de France is one of the toughest endurance sporting events on the planet. Julian Alaphilippe took the first yellow jersey of the Tour.