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Tour de France fan that caused major crash fined

December 9, 2021

A French woman who caused a massive crash by brandishing a sign during the Tour de France has avoided jail time but was fined by a French court and told to make a symbolic payment to cyclists

A woman holds up a cardboard sign as Tour de France cyclists race towards her
The cardboard sign with the words 'Go grandpa-granny!' that caused a massive pileup during the Tour de France in JuneImage: Screenshot ARD

A French court on Thursday ordered a spectator who caused a massive crash during the Tour de France to pay a fine of €1,200 ($1,350).

The court in Brest also instructed the 31-year-old to make a symbolic €1 payment to the French professional cyclists association UNCP.

The sign that caused the crash

The woman held up a large cardboard sign in front of the cyclists with the words "Go Grandpa-Granny!" written in a mixture of French and German, meant for her German grandparents to see. It caused a pile-up during the first stage of the race in June.

Several riders had to pull out of the race, including Spain's Marc Soler, who broke both arms.

The incident outraged fans and race organizers, especially when she had fled the scene instead of staying to help. She turned herself in to police four days later.      

Prosecutors had asked for a four-month suspended jail term but acknowledged that she recognized "how dangerous" her conduct had been.

She told the court that she was ashamed of her "stupidity."

Tour de France forgives but cautions fans

Her identity is was withheld because she was targeted by a torrent of online abuse in the aftermath of the incident.

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour has since taken a more conciliatory stance.

"She did something daft, she's no terrorist. We just want people to take care when they come to the Tour and remember they are there to see the champions and not to get on television," he told reporters in October.

Similar, albeit less destructive, incidents are by no means unheard of historically at the event, where hundreds of thousands of people line up near the action along hundreds of kilometers of public roads. Notable such past crashes include incidents in 1994 and 1999, with the 1994 accident caused by a policeman on security duty at the event trying to take a photograph. 

lo/msh (AFP, Reuters)