French police are searching for the woman who caused a crash during the Tour de France on Saturday, June 26th. Her cardboard sign, which read “allez opi omi”, caused a huge pile-up of tour riders and she now faces up to a year in jail.
In the incident the unknown woman stepped in front of the peloton, obstructing the route of the mass of riders with her cardboard sign.
A picture released by French police shows the woman with her foot in the road and her sign protruding well beyond the spectator zone. The accident occurred in Brittany, with about 45km remaining of stage one of the Tour.
Tony Martin, of Jumbo-Visma, crashed straight into the cardboard sign, leading to a pile-up behind him, unavoidable given the speed and close formation of the cyclists. Thankfully, Martin was unhurt but the stage was badly affected and one rider had to quit the tour through injury.
Martin took to Instagram to plead with spectators to “respect the riders”:
So what was the message on the woman’s sign and what was so important it had to make it our TV screens?
Grandma and Grandpa, I’m on TV!
The translation of “allez opi-omi” is “Go Grandpa and Grandma”, with “allez” meaning “go” in French and “opi-omi” being a derivative of “grandpa and grandpa” in German.
So it looks as though the woman was just trying to greet her grandparents and let them know she made it on international TV!
Well she definitely made quite the impact and everyone is keen to find out her identity, including the French police.
According to the Gendarmerie du Finistère official Facebook page, they are on the hunt for the careless spectator who caused the tumble, asking for any witnesses to come forward.
The post reads:
In the framework of an accident on 26/06/21 on the RD30 municipality of St Cadou, during the first stage of Tour de France 2021, a judicial investigation is opened for ‘involuntary injuries by deliberate breach of an obligation of safety or caution’.
“The spectator causing this accident left the scene before the investigators arrived. She was wearing glasses and dressed in blue jeans, red-and-white-striped sweater, yellow jacket (waxed). She holds a sign supporting the inscription ′’ALLEZ OPI-IMO!’
“Anyone with information is kindly asked to call the Finistère Gendarmerie Operational Centre.”
What will happen to the spectator in question?
French newspaper L’Equipe reports the female spectator faces a €1,500 fine. However, if German cyclist Jasha Sütterlin, who was forced to withdraw from the competition due to a wrist injury, intends to file a complaint, the woman could face a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a €15,000 (£12,900) fine.
Sütterlin, of Team DSM, released this statement:
“I am so disappointed; I have no words for it really. I can’t really move my right wrist so it was impossible for me to carry on today. It’s good that nothing is broken, but I can’t say more than I’m really disappointed to go home. I wish the rest of the guys the best of luck for the Tour.”
The team’s physician, Camiel Aldershof, said Jasha suffered a severe contusion to his right wrist and required stitches to his wrist and elbow.