As you probably know, the first day of the Tour was quite eventful, with not one, but two big multi-rider pile ups, the first of which was directly caused by a foolish spectator, holding a sign directly in front of the peloton 🙈
So of course it was only a matter of time before the memes showed up referencing the Suez Canal blockage, the sinking of the Titanic and the Tiananmen Square demonstration!
I heard on French TV that the Gendarmerie (French police) are looking for the spectator and the TdF organisers intend to press charges. According to French law, the maximum penalty of one year of imprisonment as well as a fine of EUR 15k…
However, given the multiple crashes since that first one, it probably takes some of the heat off the culprit.
The Deceunink-Quick-Step sports team director was quoted as saying “The Tour de France is always the most dangerous race of the year, and the course to Pontivy had more road obstacles and speed bumps than I’ve ever seen” and there’s quite some criticism flying around regarding rider safety.
Having watched the incident live on French TV, I’m quite sure the spectator didn’t mean to create a problem, but nonetheless still is responsible for destroying hundreds of thousands of Euros worth of bikes and seriously undermining the teams’ hard work and training in a few seconds!
I can’t imagine how mortified they were at the time. And imagine the walk of shame back to your car…
Still, at least we got some funny memes out of it.
Update 30th June: the spectator, a French citizen with no prior record, is under arrest after handing themselves in to a local police station. Apparently, the mystery of why the card was written in German, and why she was facing the camera, not the riders, is explained by her grandmother being of German origin and a keen follower of the Tour on TV. A clumsily delivered sweet message then. A bit like posting them a letter in a glass envelope. Maybe it seemed like a great idea at the time.