The Tour de France Is Dealing With Pileup Problems Again

It's led some teams to ask fans to give cyclists more space

Sepp Kuss in the Tour de France
Sepp Kuss of The United States and Team Jumbo-Visma competes climbing to the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc (1379m) while fans cheer during the stage fifteen of the 110th Tour de France 2023.
David Ramos/Getty Images

There are two things that frequently come to mind when looking at photographs of crowds watching the Tour de France. The first is along the lines of, It must be amazing to see cyclists race that close to the action. The other is more like, There is no way it’s safe for anyone to watch any sport from that close of a distance. True, competitive cycling doesn’t involve the possibility of a ball flying into the crowd. On the other hand, there is the possibility of an overly enthusiastic spectator causing a pileup. And this year’s race appears to had a few.

While there’s nothing (yet) on the scale of the infamous 2021 pileup — when a cardboard sign led to absolute chaos — this year’s competition hasn’t been without some trouble. As ESPN reports, the latest accident involved a spectator touching American cyclist Sepp Kuss and Kuss losing his balance. Cue the pileup, which the Associated Press reports involved “around two dozen riders.”

The result? A number of teams have had to plead with their fans to please, please tone things down a little bit. “If you are spectating at this amazing event, please give the riders room to race,” wrote INEOS Grenadiers on their official Twitter account.

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Historically, the fine for causing a crash has been lower than you might expect — though it’s unclear if heightened fines are the answer to this. Hopefully fans will get the message that it’s all right to cheer on cyclists from a bit more of a distance — or else this whole debate is liable to play itself out yet again before long.

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