Spectator who caused Tour de France crash ordered to appear in French court

Cyclist Cyril Lemoine of France receives medical attention after a crash during the first stage of the 2021 Tour de France in Brittany on June 26, 2021. © Anne-Christine Poujoulat, Pool via Reuters

A 30-year-old woman who caused a mass pileup at the Tour de France at the weekend was released from police custody on Friday but ordered to appear in court in October.

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The woman, who has not been named, was arrested on Wednesday and questioned over the crash caused by her large cardboard sign during the first stage of the race in northwestern Brittany.

A statement from the prosecutor's office in the town of Brest said she had been ordered to appear in court on October 14 where she could face charges of negligence and causing unintentional bodily harm. 

Wearing a bright yellow coat, she was seen on Saturday unfurling a handwritten cardboard banner towards television cameras with the words "Allez Opi-Omi!" ("Go, grandpa and granny") in front of the cyclists.

German racer Tony Martin, who was on the outside of a tightly packed peloton, was unable to avoid colliding with the sign and the ensuing pileup led to a five-minute delay as riders and bikes were untangled. 

Dozens were left with cuts and bruises and one with fractured hands, sparking a debate about safety and spectator conduct at the Tour de France, where fans are allowed to line the roads.

The woman told investigators that she felt ashamed of her "stupidity" and was alarmed by the level of public interest in her case.

The Tour de France, which had filed a complaint against the woman, announced Thursday it was withdrawing it in order to “calm things”. Another complaint has been filed by a Swiss riders’ association called Cyclistes professionnels associés, said Camille Miansoni, the state prosecutor for the city of Brest.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)