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The spectator who caused the 'worst crash in Tour de France history faces the prospect of spending time behind bars when she goes on trial this week.
The lady, caught on TV cameras holding a cardboard sign in a yellow rain coat, sparked a debate about safety and fan conduct after sparking an accident in June that left dozens of riders battered and bruised.
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The woman triggered a mass crash when German cyclist Tony Martin collided at high speed with the cardboard sign that she was holding, taking a large part of the peloton with him.
Crazy crash at Tour De France 2021 🇫🇷
A fan who was holding a message to her grandparents & grinning for the cameras took out most of the peloton with a cardboard sign 🚴♀️ 🚴♂️ 🚴 #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/OEZmiSjBE9
— Nigel D'Souza (@Nigel__DSouza) June 26, 2021
She managed to evade authorities and reportedly fled the country before finally turning herself into police days after the drama.
The unidentified spectator will face charges of causing negligent bodily injury and endangering people's lives, among other things.
After questioning the woman, the public prosecutor said she was ashamed of what she had done, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
French reports claim the woman faces a fine of $23,000 (15,000 euros) and as much as 12 months in jail.
The Tour de France decided against taking legal action, but the professional cyclist association (CPA) is pursuing a lawsuit.
In a statement the CPA said it was seeking symbolic compensation of $1.50 (one euro).
“The damage suffered by the riders is physical, moral and economic,” CPA president Gianni Bugno said.
“An athlete prepares months for a grand tour and it is not acceptable that all his hard work, that of his family, his staff and his team should be shattered in an instant by the quest for popularity of those who should attend the event without becoming the protagonist.
“We are sure that the spectator did not intentionally want to harm anyone, but with her carelessness she compromised the health and the season of more than one of our members.
“The one euro compensation we have asked for does not pay for the fracture of both arms of Marc Soler nor for the consequences suffered by Tony Martin and the other riders who ended up on the ground, but it has a symbolic value.”
Tour de France crash left 26 riders injured
The accident on the first stage of the race occurred between Brest and Landerneau in northwestern Britanny when the woman, facing away from the riders and towards the cameras, held up the sign which read "Allez Opi-Omi" - which translates as "Go, grandpa and granny".
The pileup delayed the stage for five minutes while bikes and bodies were untangled, with some describing the horror scenes as the worst they'd ever seen at the Tour de France.
The worst Tour de France crash I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/1jngQE1pYg
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) June 26, 2021
The Tour's officials record state that 26 riders were injured in the shocking accident, with four cyclists unable to finish the stage as a result of the carnage.
The incident and a series of crashes on the second and third stages of the race angered teams and led to the entire peloton staging a symbolic protest at the start of Tuesday's fourth stage.
Riders all came to a stop for a brief period, before setting off again at a leisurely pace.
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