Organizers of the Tour de France reportedly plan to sue a spectator who caused a massive crash with a sign on Saturday ― but first, they need to find the person.
Tour de France deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told the AFP news agency that the race plans to take legal action against the fan “so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
The spectator, widely reported to be a woman, fled the scene, according to French news site Ouest France.
The fan was holding up a cardboard sign in the path of the oncoming cyclists on the race’s opening day when her sign hit German cyclist Tony Martin, creating a violent pileup of bodies and bicycles.
Her sign read, in a mix of French and German: “Go, grandpa, grandma!”
Martin, who was seen immediately knocked to the ground and struck by cyclists directly behind him, said he had no time to react after the fan moved in front of him.
“I saw the lady, I saw the sign but at the last moment she turned the sign into the road so for me there was no time to react,” Martin said in a later interview.
He has since urged people who don’t respect the athletes ― who travel at speeds around 30 mph ― and who treat the race as “a circus” to just stay home.
“We don’t want you here. You risc [sic] our life and our dreams for what we work so hard!” he posted on Instagram.
German cyclist Jasha Sutterlin ultimately was unable to complete the race after sustaining injuries in the horrific crash that broke bikes and left athletes covered in blood.
Local authorities have requested that witnesses at the scene help identify the fan.
A second crash that day brought down several other riders.
The race’s organizers have since reminded the public to be respectful of the riders, while sharing a video on Twitter of what spectators should not do. It includes people running into the road, blowing colored smoke in cyclists’ faces, and touching passing cyclists, as well as an unleashed dog causing a crash.
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