Tour de France WITHDRAWS complaint against woman who caused crash

BREAKING NEWS: Tour de France organisers WITHDRAW official complaint against woman who caused the biggest crash in the race’s history 24 hours her arrest – but she IS still likely to face charges from prosecutors

  • Tour de France organisers have reportedly withdrawn its complaint against the woman who caused the crash
  • The unnamed woman was arrested and is in custody in connection with the horror incident from Saturday 
  • Woman had her back to peloton with the sign sticking out into the road at handlebar height – causing crash
  • Crash took place near town of Saint-Cadou, 30 miles from the end of race from Brest to Landerneau 
  • Prosecutors opened a criminal enquiry for ‘deliberately violating safety regulations and so causing injuries that might prevent someone working for up to three months’
  • This is an indictable offence in France punishable with up to a year in prison and a fine of just under £13,000
  • Despite the surprise move from organisers, prosecutors may still look to bring charges against the woman

Tour de France organisers have withdrawn its complaint against the woman who caused the biggest crash in the race’s history, according to reports.

L’Equipe claim that the surprise decision has been taken ‘for the sake of appeasement’, despite the large number of riders who were caught up in the horror incident.

The suspect – who has not been identified – had been arrested on Wednesday, and was being kept in custody in the small Brittany town of Landerneau, as reported by Sportsmail.  

‘This story has been blown out of proportion but we wish to remind everyone of the safety rules on the race,’ Tour director Christian Prudhomme said, confirming the lawsuit has been dropped.

‘If you come to the Tour, you hold your kid, you hold your pet and don’t cross the road carelessly. And above all, you respect the riders – they’re the ones worthy of live TV.’

It is understood that she still may face charges from prosecutors, however, who are able to proceed with taking action despite the latest move from the organisers of the world’s biggest cycling event.  

‘She did not have far to travel to get to the race, and clearly knew how to escape after causing so much damage,’ an investigating source said.

‘Numerous witnesses were interviewed, and camera footage was also inspected in order to track the suspect down.

‘Now that she has been caught, she has to be questioned at length, to find out exactly what her motives were.’ 

A criminal inquiry was launched following the collapse of an entire peloton on Saturday, when 21 cyclists were seriously hurt.

The woman was filmed standing by the side of the road and grinning at TV cameras while holding up a large sign saying ‘Go! Grandma and Grandpa’ in a mixture of French and German – leading prosecutors to think she may have flown in for the race.

A roadside spectator (left) caused a massive crash in the Tour de France on Saturday with a banner aimed at her family. A woman has since been arrested and taken into custody, but the complaint from the organisers has now been withdrawn

Tony Martin had nowhere to go when the supporter stepped out, looking at the TV cameras and it started the huge pile-up

The accident caused a massive blockage and saw more than 20 riders hit the deck injured in one of the Tour’s worst crashes

She had her back to the approaching peloton and was hit in the left arm before spinning around.

German cyclist Tony Martin was the first to go down, and then there was a horrifying domino effect that ended in a tangle of bikes and bodies.

There were numerous wounds, including ones to Jasha Sutterlin, another German rider, who had to pull out of the entire contest.

‘The spectator who caused this accident left the scene before the arrival of the investigators, but has not been arrested and place in custody after four days’ said a spokesman for the Finistere gendarmerie.

Saturday’s race was between Brest to Landeneau, and this is the reason she was being held in the town.

The suspect can initially be held for a period of 48 hours before she is charged, her custody period extended, or is set free.

Beyond the initial possible charge, the woman could face further accusations if individual riders chose to complain about her, said the source.

‘This could ultimately lead to far greater punishments against her,’ added the source.

The massive crash took place near the summit of the Saint-Rivoal hill in the town of Saint-Cadou, some 30 miles from the end of the 123-mile race from the Atlantic port city of Brest, which is where the nearest airport is. She is now being questioned in Landerneau, where the first stage concluded on Saturday

Riders survey the damage after the crash during the 108th Tour de France 2021, with many left bruised and battling injuries

Prosecutors opened the enquiry for ‘deliberately violating safety regulations and so causing injuries that might prevent someone working for up to three months.’

This is an indictable offence in France punishable with up to a year in prison and a fine equivalent to just under £13,000.

Pierre-Yves Thouault, the deputy race director of the Tour de France, initially said that organisers had filed a complaint against the woman.

‘This is unacceptable behaviour,’ he said. ’There are safety rules to follow. Spectators don’t cross the road, they don’t take selfies.

‘Frankly, the attitude her was insane. The show is the riders, not spectators who want to be on TV.

‘The Tour must remain a party but because of the attitude of a very small minority, it is ruined. We can no longer accept this.’ 

The massive crash took place near the summit of the Saint-Rivoal hill in the town of Saint-Cadou, some 30 miles from the end of the 123-mile second stage of this year’s Tour.

The woman is now being held in Landerneau (above), the small town in Brittany where Sunday’s first stage concluded 

Tour de France surgeon Gilbert Versier (right) likened the chaos caused in the crash to a ‘war zone’ such as Afghanistan or Iraq

One of the cyclists, Swiss star Marc Hirschi, found himself thrown into the nearby hedges and he dislocated his shoulder

The crash has been labelled as one of the worst ever in the history of the Tour de France, which is in its 108th instalment

The tour’s on-site surgeon Gilbert Versier, a three-star general operating out in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the aftermath of the crash resembled a war zone.  

‘It looks like a war scene, the same chaos, the same moans, bodies everywhere and tangled machines,’ Versier told French daily newspaper L’Equipe. 

‘You can’t imagine so much breakage. In the midst of the commotion, the runners getting up and wanting to start again, the most serious cases must be identified. 

‘In general, these are the ones who are furthest from the accident site, because they have been thrown.’ 

One of the cyclists caught up in the crash, Marc Soler, saw his Tour brought to an early end after sustaining fractures to his elbows and wrists. He has voiced his intention to seek action against the woman responsible. 

‘I don’t know what to do, I’m thinking of taking the spectator to court, because that’s an entire Tour canned and I feel very angry,’ he said, as per Cycling News. 

He went on to add: ‘The fall happened at a point in the race where the road narrowed and we were trying to be well-placed, we were near the front and then I saw all the Jumbo-Visma riders going down and [Mike] Teunissen crashed right in front of me. 

‘I went flying, somersaulted and landed hard on my hands. They both hurt, and so did my face where my glasses had broken and my shoulder too. I tried to get up but I couldn’t, I didn’t have any strength in my arms.

‘The mechanic pulled me up by my armpits, and I sat on the side of the road, I was really dizzy. There were still 50 kilometres to go. 

‘They [the team] told me to try to go on but I don’t know how I did, I couldn’t change gear or brake. When I got to the finish, I was worried about the time limit, but I couldn’t even get my clothes off in the bus, they had to cut them off with scissors. Then when we got to the medical truck, they confirmed my injuries.’

Tour riders brought the race to a halt for around a minute during the fourth stage on Tuesday, and held a silent protest for safer racing conditions.

Things took another turn for the worst on the same day, however, when Team Ineos’ Geraint Thomas dislocated his shoulder on another chaotic race day for stage 3.

When Thomas crashed less than 25 miles into the 114-mile stage, it appeared his race might be over as he sat on the road in pain and fell three minutes behind the peloton. But after having his shoulder popped back in, he remounted and lost just 26sec by the finish. He was 67sec off the overall leader. 

An X-ray on Monday night confirmed the Welshman had not suffered a fracture, and he was reassessed ahead of the first time trial on Wednesday.   

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