• Stage 1 crash at the Tour de France (SBS)Source: SBS
The fan that caused the mass crash on the opening stage of the Tour de France is in court on charges of endangering the safety of others.
SBS Cycling Central

13 Oct - 11:27 AM 

The 31-year-old French woman is being prosecuted for "endangering others", as well as "involuntary injuries" resulting in an incapacity for work for a period of time "not exceeding 3 months". She faces a fine of up to €15,000 ($AU23,500) and a one-year prison sentence.

On June 26, in the town of Sizun, 45 km from the finish of the first stage of the Tour, part of Brest, she waved a sign saying 'Allez Opi, Omi!' while encroaching on the road, her back to the on-coming peloton.

Tony Martin was the first rider to hit her as he manoeuvered within the cramped peloton, smashing into her arm and falling, the start of a mass crash that saw the majority of the main bunch brought to the ground at speed. Martin has since retired from professional cycling, with his concerns over safety in the sport his prime reason for doing so.

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“The respondent expressed a feeling of shame, of fear in the face of the consequences of his act. She says she is distressed by the media coverage of what she calls her stupidity,” public prosecutor Camile Miansoni said about the defendant.

It was only four days after the incident, and when a call for witnesses had been launched, that she went to the Landerneau gendarmerie and turned herself in. She was immediately taken into custody.

The Brest prosecutor's office opened a judicial investigation for "involuntary injuries with incapacity not exceeding three months by manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence".

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The Tour de France organisers, ASO, dropped their complaint against the woman, Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme saying at the time that the incident had been ‘blown out of proportion’.

At the same time, the Professional Cyclists Associates (CPA), based in Switzerland, made its own complaint. "It was a really irresponsible action," said CPA Secretary General Laura Mora, spoke for the only association of cyclists recognised by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

The Facebook account of the Finistère gendarmerie , which had called for witnesses in the aftermath of the incident, has received more than 4,000 comments, some violent, since the crash occurred.