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This year’s Tour de France, an annual bicycle race held in France, fell into total disarray Saturday thanks to a passionate but careless fan and their big ol’ sign.
During the Tour de France race, the bicyclists ride extremely close to one another, meaning that just one bicyclist toppling over can trigger a chain reaction like dominoes.
Well, that’s exactly what happened Saturday when one fan stuck their large sign out in what looked to be attempt to have the sign seen on TV.
Fortunately for the fan, the sign was definitely seen on TV … except that it was seen causing what has been described as the “worst Tour de France crash” in history.
A huge crash at #TDF2021 this morning was caused when a spectator held out a sign and struck a rider.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 26, 2021
The worst Tour de France crash I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/1jngQE1pYg
— daniel (@cyclingreporter) June 26, 2021
Now notice what’s plastered on the sign: The words “Allex Opi-Omi!”
What does that even mean?
“The sign is a combination of two languages, French and German. ‘Allez’ means ‘go’ in French, according to Google Translate, while ‘opi’ and ‘omi’ are German terms for ‘grandpa’ and ‘grandma,’ according to Dict.cc. So the sign would translate to ‘Go grandpa-grandma,'” Sporting News confirmed.
It’s not clear how the fan’s grandfather and grandmother feel about their grandchild’s catastrophic stunt …
An imbecile fan caused this massive crash at the #TourDeFrance2021 by holding a sign that jutted into the course and took down the first of countless riders. The sign said, “Go, grandpa and grandma.” Those grandparents must be so proud. https://t.co/ZcJowFVdKD
— Juliet Macur (@JulietMacur) June 26, 2021
What’s known is that the fan reportedly disappeared after their recklessness nearly ruined the Tour de France.
“Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, revealed to us this Saturday evening that ASO, the organizer of the race, had filed a complaint against this spectator. But just after the incident, the latter, of foreign nationality, probably German, took to the skies. For now, he remains untraceable,” French media reported, according to a translation from CBS Sports.
Notice how French media described the fan as a “he.”
Meanwhile, another crash reportedly occurred later that afternoon near the finish, though the cause of this crash was accidental wheel-touching.
— Sporza 🚴 (@sporza_koers) June 26, 2021
At least 21 riders were injured, some of them quite severely with head trauma, broken ribs, fractured elbows, etc. Some of the bicyclists had to officially bow out of the race because of the injuries they’d sustained, as reported by Cycling News.
Others remained in the race, including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who was injured during the second crash.
“One moment everything was fine and we were heading towards the finish, and then at 60-70kph there was just a touch of wheels somewhere in the peloton and it was just carnage. There were probably 50-60 riders on the floor. There was just nowhere for me to go. I braked as hard as I could but I still went into the back of the guys who crashed in front of me,” he said in a YouTube video published Sunday.
“I hit my left side pretty hard, my left leg and chest. Went for scans last night, and got back at 1:00 am but it’s all good with no fractures, just a lot of swelling and a lot of bruising, so I’m pretty sore this morning. I’m going to try and get through today’s stage, survive, and hope that in the coming days it starts to feel better.”
The Tour de France is comprised of 21 daily stages. Each stage is basically a race like the one seen Saturday.
While the first crash Saturday was the “worst crash” in the race’s history, injuries and mishaps are common at every Tour de France race. In fact, last year’s race started almost as badly.
“Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez crashed directly into a roadside sign yet finished the first stage of the Tour de France, a rainy day full of crashes in Nice,” NBC Sports reported after the first day of the 2020 Tour de France last year.
“Other high-profile riders who crashed Saturday included top Frenchmen Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot and Russian Pavel Sivakov, one of the top young riders for Team Ineos Grenadiers supporting defending champion Egan Bernal.”
Below is a compilation of every crash from stage 1 of the 2020 race:
As for the particularly devastating crash Saturday, Tour de France officials are not pleased by it.
“We are suing this woman who behaved so badly. We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone,” tour deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP, according to Yahoo Sports.
Notice how Thouault described the fan as a “woman.”
Meanwhile, the tour’s official Twitter account posted a tweet asking bystanders to show a little respect.
⚠ We’re glad to have the public on the side of the road on the #TDF2021.
But for the Tour to be a success, respect the safety of the riders!
Don’t risk everything for a photo or to get on television! pic.twitter.com/eA6nnhRhWv
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) June 26, 2021
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