The first week of the 2021 Tour de France has been a thrilling competition with incredible speeds, marvelous tactical moves, emotional stage wins that honor the past and spectacular crashes.
These crashes are a part of cycling and expected in the Tour de France as riders refuse to give an inch. The near-200 competitors push the limitations of their bodies, their bikes, and the roads which often lead to death defying crashes.
Yet, what’s not common is when a fan causes a massive crash and that’s exactly what happened on the opening stage of this year’s Tour de France.
But the crash was only the beginning of what’s turning into a global drama that unveils a new plot twist with each passing hour.
What started out as a pileup of humanity on the roads of France has now turned into a manhunt with French authorities searching for this spectator who fled the country.
More Details About the Fan Caused Crash
On Saturday, the riders were lined up across the road and racing at high speeds roughly 47km from the finish line in Landerneau.
A spectator stepped out onto the edge of the road and held a large cardboard sign that read “Allez Opi-Omi.” When translated to English, the sign was saying hi to the woman’s grandparents.
However, as the woman ignored the oncoming peloton in order to look at the TV camera that just went by, the sign smashed into Team Jumbo-Visma’s Tony Martin who hit the pavement very hard and then took out dozens of riders.
“We are suing this woman who behaved so badly. We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this dont spoil the show for everyone.”
The Tour de France’s official Twitter account stated the following:
“We’re glad to have the public on the side of the road on the #TDF2021. But 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!”
At first, it was believed that this spectator was a man. However, after French authorities got involved, they quickly learned that the fan was really a woman and most likely German.
As the investigation picked up heading into Monday, June 28th, authorities realized that the fan was nowhere to be found. In fact, they believe that this woman hopped on a plane and fled the country.
The Tour de France’s governing body isn’t giving up on pursuing legal recourse against this fan. She could face up to $18,000 dollars in fines and one year in jail if she’s apprehended.
More Crashes on the Next Stages
As alluded to above, this year’s TDF has been marred by crashes including some bad ones on Stage 3 that have potentially ended the chances of pre-race favorites Primoz Roglic and Geraint Thomas.
Thomas was first to hit the pavement as he crashed just 37km into the stage. He dislocated his shoulder, but was able to finish the stage after having his shoulder popped back into place.
Robert Gesink flipped over a down Thomas and ended up sustaining injuries that forced him out of the race.
Gesink’s teammate Primoz Roglic crashed just inside 10km to go and tore up his uniform down the left side of his body. He was all scraped up and needed the rest of his team to help him finish the stage.
Roglic lost over 80 seconds to the stage winner Tim Merlier. What’s worse is that Roglic is nearly one minute down on his chief rival Tadej Pogacar.
A third crash took place around the 4km to go mark where a few riders hit hard and it split up the front of the peloton.
Lastly, the 4th crash took place just a few meters before the finishing line as Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan were sprinting for a stage win. Unfortunately, Ewan lost control and took out both men. Sagan will be able to continue the race, but Ewan is out with a broken collar bone.
These crashes have many fans, riders and pundits criticizing the Tour de France organizers.
Following all of the crashes, Tadej Pogacar saw his odds of winning the 2021 TDF increase from +150 to -167 after the first three stages. Primoz Roglic saw his odds fall from +190 to +450.
Geraint Thomas was the biggest loser with cycling betting sites as his odds dropped from +400 to +1400. In fact, his teammate Richard Carapaz is now considered the leader of Team Ineos due to Thomas’ bad luck. Carapaz’s odds improved from +800 to +600.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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