A colorful complement to the monthlong Tour de France bicycle race is the collection of loyal fans who line the course.
They’re often in costume and sometimes run alongside the cyclists (though they’re certainly advised against such behavior).
What is not acceptable is causing a violent crash that affects the outcome of a Tour stage – and that’s what happened on the race’s first day, Saturday, when a fan blocked the path of a rider, leading to the pileup.
“I’m sorry,” isn’t going to cut this time, though, as French authorities continued to search for the fan on Sunday.
“We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault was quoted as saying on the NBCSN broadcast Sunday. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
Race replays show a woman standing in the way of the arriving riders holding a sign and smiling just before impact with one of the Tour’s veteran stars, Tony Martin.
The sign? It read: “Go! Gran, Grandad,” in French and German.
Clearly, no evil intent was in play – but she could be a serious example and may be facing up to a year in prison.
A spokesman for Finistere gendarmerie said the woman left before investigators arrived, according to the Daily Mail.
“The spectator who caused this accident left the scene before the arrival of the investigators,” the spokesman said. “Everything is being done to try and find her.”
The Twitter account for the Tour urged better vigilance from the crowds, writing: “For the Tour to be a success, respect the safety of the riders! Don’t risk everything for a photo or to get on television!”