On Saturday a major crash occurred early into the Tour de France, and it was all caused by a spectator saying hi to grandma and grandpa.
It is the latest in a long history of similar incidents.
About 45km from the finish in Landerneau, a woman in a yellow jacket held out a sign saying “Allez opi-omi”, which obstructed rider Tony Martin and caused a massive crash and pile-up of over half the Tour’s riders.
The incident can be watched in a newly viral video, but police have not yet been able to locate the offender.
Riders Sonny Colbrelli and Wout van Aert, both favourites to win the first stage, lost serious time following the incident.
Swiss rider Marc Hirschi was seriously injured, however, chose to continue with stage 2 yesterday morning after being monitored overnight
The Tour’s deputy director Pierre-Yves Thounault has stated that he plans to sue the woman: “who behaved so badly … so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
That decision is contentious, not only as the woman has not yet been identified but also because there is doubt that suing the fan will be productive in compensating the riders and deterring other spectators.
The now infamous sign has been translated to “go grandma, grandpa”, and has invited a heap of ridicule from Twitter.
Missing grandma? Pick up the phone or send a card. Alternatively, you can really push the bike out and take down half a peloton at the Tour de France. Just… wow. https://t.co/XW3advF6Bs
— Francesca 💙 (@iamfrangipan) June 27, 2021
The cyclists’ nightmare didn’t end at the first crash, either. Right near the finish line, a second pile-up occurred which hindered many riders who had evaded the first incident.
It’s certainly not uncommon, however.
For many fans of the Tour, the recent events have brought up memories of the horrifying crash of cyclist Laurent Jalabert, who in 1994 collided with an idiotic police officer who decided to capitalise on his view from crowd-control and leant out in front of the star to get a better look.
Jalabert was left seriously bloody and battered with broken teeth and facial bones.
All these lead to the obvious conclusion: when it comes to cycling races, please, please, don’t do it for the gram.