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Woman arrested after causing Tour de France’s worst-ever crash ‘regrets her stupidity’

The women arrested for causing the worst ever crash in Tour de France history has said she ‘regrets her stupidity’ and feels ‘shame’.

She caused the mass crash by holding a cardboard placard in the riders’ paths during the first stage of the event on Saturday. 

The unnamed spectator ‘has a feeling of shame, of fear over the consequences of her actions’ and has been ‘distressed by the media coverage of her stupidity’, Brest public prosecutor Camille Miansoni said. 

The sign, reading ‘Go! Grandma and Grandpa’ in a mixture of French and German, was intended as an affection gesture to her parents, Miansoni added. 

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 A woman has since been arrested and taken into custody, but the complaint from the organisers has now been withdrawn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

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

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

The woman appeared to be looking in the other direction, apparently at a camera, and not at the approaching peloton when the accident happened.

It comes after Tour de France organisers withdrew their legal action against the woman. 

Race spokesperson Fabrice Tiano said the decision was made in a bid to defuse the situation following an outpouring of anger over the fan’s mistake. 

She was arrested on Wednesday, four days after the accident, after turning herself into police in Finistère, Brittany.

Miansoni said the woman ‘took a long time to realise what had happened’ and ‘did not realise her mistake’, Le Parisien reported. 

The mass crash brought down dozens of riders.  

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 Sütterlin, another German rider, who had to pull out of the entire contest.

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

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

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

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

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

In impassioned comments on Thursday, race director Christian Prudhomme expressed concern for the so far unidentified 30-year-old Frenchwoman who is currently in police custody. 

‘This has taken on crazy proportions,” said Mr Prudhomme. ‘We want to calm things down, and above all to get the message across to the public.’

He said that basic safety should not preclude people having a good time, explaining: ‘It is a matter of reiterating the precautionary measures on the Tour route.

‘When you come to the roads of the Tour de France, it’s for the party, it’s for the enthusiasm, it’s to enjoy it.’

Investigators have spoken to dozens of people since the incident on Saturday.

Tour organisers announced after the crash on the stage from Brest to Landerneau that they would start legal proceedings against the fan, who disappeared from the crash scene, but have since dropped their complaint. 

The Gendarmerie du Landerneau, east of Brest, put out a call for witnesses shortly after the pile-up. It refused to comment on the reported arrest. 

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 equivalent to just under £13,000.

While the prosecution can technically continue, the withdrawal of the Tour de France complaint will provide considerable mitigation.

It may well lead to the woman going free, with a warning and not a fine.   

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

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

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

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

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.’  




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