French Woman Who Caused Tour de France Crash Is Arrested But Will No Longer Face Lawsuit

The 30-year-old woman turned herself into authorities and is in custody

108th Tour de France 2021 - Stage 1
Cyclists were injured after a crash during the 108th Tour de France 2021, Stage 1.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat - Pool/Getty

The cycling fan who got the Tour de France off to a slow and painful start by causing a massive crash during Stage 1 of the epic bike race has been found and arrested by French authorities, per Reuters.

The fan, an unidentified 30-year-old French woman, had been on the lam and it was believed she might’ve slipped the country. However, she turned herself into authorities, prosecutors said. “A suspect is in custody,” said Camille Miansoni, the state prosecutor for the city of Brest in Normandy.

She is accused of involuntarily causing injury and putting the life of others at risk after holding a cardboard sign honoring her grandparents in the path of competitors that German cyclist Tony Martin rode into, leading to a massive pile-up and creating chaos on the race route.

Although the Tour de France originally intended to sue the woman for causing the crash, Tour organizers said they had withdrawn their lawsuit against her and will not be pursuing legal action.

“We are withdrawing our complaint. This story has been blown out of proportion but we wish to remind everyone of the safety rules on the race,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme said. “If you come to the Tour, you hold your kid, you hold your pet and don’t cross the road carelessly. And above all, you respect the riders — they’re the ones worthy of live TV.”

Pierre-Yves Thouault of the Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the Tour de France, had had previously said: “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”

Following another big pile-up earlier this week during the Tour de France’s fourth stage, riders stopped for a full minute in a silent protest for safer racing conditions.

“Since it takes place on public roads in France, the cycling race gives millions of spectators a chance for up-close views of the action year after year,” according to The New York Times. “But fans have often been overzealous in encroaching upon the race, and have at times interfered in the competition by running alongside the riders or blocking their path.”

This week, the riders’ union (CPA) also asked for more respect from the sport’s governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), and from organizers of the Tour.

“Following the crashes during the third stage of the Tour de France, the riders have been discussing how they wish to proceed to show their dissatisfaction with safety measures in place and demand their concerns are taken seriously,” the CPA said in a statement. “Their frustration about foreseeable and preventable action is enormous.”

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