Tour de France crash culprit appears in court as she faces suspended prison sentence

Irish Mirror   14/10/2021 20:54

Prosecutors on the trial of the spectator who caused a spectacular crash at this year's Tour de France have called on her to serve a suspended four-month prison sentence.

The 31-year-old woman from Brittany, who has not been named in order to protect her identity, attended court on Thursday.

She sparked mass controversy in June during the first stage of the famous race, when she leant onto the road waving a cardboard sign towards TV cameras as the peloton rapidly approached from behind her.

It read “Allez, Opi-Omi”, the German terms for grandparents.

The sign clipped German rider Tony Martin, who crashed to the ground and caused dozens of other riders to follow suit, with several riders unable to carry on after sustaining severe injuries. As a result, the race was held up for several minutes.

She fled the scene and wasn't located for four days, before handing herself in to police.

Following the incident, Tour de France Deputy Director Pierre-Yves Thouault said the tour would take legal action against the woman.

However, in July officials withdrew their intended lawsuit, with Tour director Christian Prudhomme saying: "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."

The woman, who a prosecutor said felt ashamed of what she did, appeared in court accused of involuntarily causing injury and putting the life of others at risk.

According to Reuters , the court has postponed its ruling to December 9, with prosecutors recommending a four-month suspended sentence.

Lawyer Romuald Palao, who represents the Professional Cyclists' Association (CPA), told the court the sentence should serve as a signal of the seriousness of her actions.

“The public is key to cycling races, it must remain that way, but it must be done with respect for the physical integrity of the riders,” Palao said.

“This case is representative of what can happen with people who want to take centre-stage themselves with pictures, videos. It has to be done with a minimum of common sense and this was not the case there.”

Palao, who claimed the riders' union would not hesitate to file more lawsuits if such incidents were to happen again, also said: “What we want from this trial is that it helps ensure this does not happen again.

“Cycling is dangerous enough in itself, no need for additional risks. People on the side of the road must act responsibly."

A lawyer for the defendant declined to comment on the trial.

Get the latest sports headlines straight to your inbox by signing up for free email alerts

Cookie Settings