Authorities Can't Find Sign-Holding Spectator Who Caused Massive Tour de France Crash: Report
French authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of unintentional injuries by a deliberate breach of an obligation of safety or caution
The spectator who caused the massive pileup during the Tour de France is expected to be sued by organizers of the annual race. However, she has reportedly departed the country and cannot be located.
According to French publication Ouest-France, the woman — who is of foreign nationality — remains "untraceable" after reportedly fleeing shortly following the June 26 incident.
In video footage from the crash, which took place in the first stage of the race from Brest to Landerneau, the unidentified female fan in a yellow jacket was seen holding a sign and venturing too far into the road with her back to oncoming cyclists. Her sign, which read "Allez Opi-Omi" (which translates from French and German to "Come on granddad-granny"), caused German cyclist Tony Martin to lose control of his bike, leading to a massive pileup.
It took approximately 25 kilometers (more than 15 miles) for the peloton to fully regroup.
In a call for witnesses, law enforcement officials from the Finistère area announced on Facebook that a "judicial investigation is opened for 'Involuntary Injuries with Disabilities not exceeding 3 months by manifestly deliberate breach of an obligation of safety or caution,' " adding, "The viewer causing this accident left the scene before the investigators arrived."
"We are suing this woman who behaved so badly," Tour deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told the AFP. "We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don't spoil the show for everyone."
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Three riders have withdrawn from the race following the crash, the Tour de France confirmed on its website.
The incident also led Tour de France organizers to release a public service announcement on Twitter.
"We're glad to have the public on the side of the road on the #TDF2021. But for the Tour to be a success, respect the safety of the riders! Don't risk everything for a photo or to get on television!" a statement read on Saturday.
The annual sporting event, which was postponed last year due to COVID, will continue through July 18, with the participants covering roughly 3,414 kilometers over 21 days of biking and two rest days.