Fan who caused Tour de France crash tells court it was a mistake, prosecutors seek suspended sentence


Prosecutors in the trial of a roadside spectator who caused a huge accident on the Tour de France’s first stage in June are asking for a four-month suspended prison sentence, according to a lawyer for the runners’ union.

The Frenchwoman, who was not named, sent one cyclist to the ground, with dozens of others falling as they crashed into him, in a scene that made headlines around the world.

With 45 km from the finish in the opening stage, the accident saw German driver Tony Martin collide with the sign on a narrow stretch of road.

He got out, taking several members of the squad with him. Most were able to resume the race, but another German cyclist, Jasha Sütterlin, was forced to withdraw from the Tour with a large bruise on his wrist.

The woman, who surrendered a few days later, was holding her cardboard sign towards a TV camera while facing oncoming cyclists.

Lawyer Romuald Palao – who represents the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA), which is a party to the lawsuit – told reporters after a hearing in the French city of Brest that the court would rule on the case on December 9.

“People on the road must act responsibly.”

He said the riders’ union would not hesitate to take further legal action should such incidents recur, adding that spectators taking selfies or posing for photos or videos should be wary of the safety of cyclists.

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The woman, whose prosecutors earlier said she was ashamed of what she had done, told court on Thursday that keeping the registration was a mistake and that she regretted it.

She is accused of unintentionally causing injury and endangering the lives of others.

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

The Tour de France withdrew its own lawsuit in July, saying that while race safety was essential, the case had been disproportionate after it sparked a media frenzy.

The organizers of the Tour de France announced on Thursday the route of the 2022 edition of the race.

Reuters / ABC


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