Tour de France 2021 - French police begin hunt for fan who caused mass crash that took out peloton on Stage 1
Police in France are seeking information as they attempt to track down the fan who caused the mass crash on Stage 1 of the Tour de France. The fan got too close to the peloton, and ended up hitting Tony Martin with a placard. That set in motion a sequence of events that brought down almost all of the peloton.
‘Stupid! Chaos!’ – Fan causes huge crash that brings down entire peloton
The Gendarmerie du Finistère are looking for the overzealous fan who caused a huge crash during the first stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.
A fan on the side of the road contrived to hit Tony Martin with a placard causing a huge pile-up, with Wout van Aert, Primoz Roglic (both Jumbo–Visma), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Marc Soler (Movistar) coming down hard.
The crash was so severe it brought down nearly all of the peloton, and the Gendarmerie du Finistère have now released a statement on Facebook, saying that they had opened an investigation. The post added that the fan - who held up a sign that read ALLEZ OPI-OMI! which roughly translates as COME ON GRANDDAD-GRANNY - had left the scene before they could be spoken to.
This is how Rob Hatch on commentary called the crash at the time.
“A mass crash!” exclaimed Hatch.
“This is chaos! This is exactly what we didn’t want on the first day of the Tour de France. An absolute disaster!
When a replay emerged, Hatch added:
It was a supporter, it was a supporter! Oh no! That is a sickener! I think we might be counting the cost of this for a while!
Brian Smith on co-commentary had words of condemnation for the fan, adding:
“You can see the fan on the side of the road is just trying to get on television – a stupid, stupid thing! A stupid, stupid mistake by a supporter at the side of the road pretty much takes down the whole of the peloton."
Riders who escaped the spill – mainly Deceuninck-QuickStep and Ineos – took their foot off the gas and sat up to account for the crash, but Jasha Sutterlin (Team DSM) would have to abandon.
STATEMENT IN FULL
CALL FOR WITNESSES
In the context of an accident that occurred on 06/26/21 on the RD30 commune of ST CADOU (29), during the first stage of the TOUR DE FRANCE 2021, a judicial investigation was opened for "Unintentional injuries with incapacity not exceeding not three months by manifestly wilful violation of an obligation of safety or prudence”.
The spectator at the origin of this accident left the scene before the arrival of the investigators. She was wearing glasses and blue jeans, a red and white striped sweater, a yellow jacket (waxed). She is holding a sign bearing the inscription "ALLEZ OPI-OMI!"
Anyone with information is requested to call the operational center of the Finistère gendarmerie at 02.98.55.80.66
A rider from B&B Hotels p/b KTM came down approaching the final climb of the day, causing a huge pile-up that brought down almost half of the peloton.
‘He is down on his return to the Tour’ - Froome caught up in ‘absolute disaster’ of a crash
Hatch was, again, aghast.
“It is an absolute shocker,” he began. “More than half the peloton down and it is exactly what we didn’t want, mark II.”
A replay would later reveal that Froome – a four-time winner of the Tour – was in considerable discomfort following the crash.
“Chris Froome is down on his return to the Tour de France,” added Hatch. “And he is looking hurt!”
“Absolute disaster situation here! This is a crash – 6.3km – from the line that could condition the race, the GC, the whole thing. If we thought the last one was bad, this for the race, as well as any health implications, could be an absolute disaster!”
Froome would eventually remount his bike but he lost considerable time and Hatch had said as he laid prone on the floor:
This is a horrible sight. Froome [is] shaking his head - after all the fight, after all the hard yards, and after the pain and torture he has put in to get back to this level.
Alaphilippe darted out of the wheel of Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Dries Devenyns with 2.3km remaining to open up a gap over his rivals on the steepest part of the final climb, the Cote de la Fosse aux Loups.
And despite last year’s yellow jersey protagonists – the Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic – leading the chase, Alaphilippe’s bold early move paid off as the 29-year-old added another huge win to his swelling palmares, days after becoming a father for the first time.
The Australian Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) led a small chase pack over the line eight seconds down ahead of Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic, as Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman since Bernard Hinault in 1981 to win the opening stage of the Tour de France while displaying the famous rainbow bands.
After bonus seconds were factored in, Alaphilippe leads Matthews by 12 seconds at the top of the general classification with Roglic, last year’s runner-up, two seconds back in third. Matthews will don the green jersey on Sunday’s second stage, Dutchman Ide Schelling will be in polka dots after the Bora-Hansgrohe debutant starred in the day’s breakaway, while defending champion Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will be in white after taking a solid sixth on a day of drama.
Highlights: Alaphilippe takes brilliant solo win after two huge pile-ups on Stage 1