The annual Tour de France had an unprecedented event over the weekend. A woman who wanted to display a sign for the cameras caused a nasty crash.
A manhunt is now on for the hapless fan who wanted a few seconds of fame. The only question remains: who was that lady?
During the first stage of the Tour de France, the lady was standing at the edge of the road with a large cardboard sign. The fan was wearing a red and white striped sweater with a yellow jacket and a pair of blue jeans. She also had a cap and glasses on. Her sign had the words “Allez Opi-Omi!” which is a mix of French and German that can be translated to “Go grandpa grandma!”
German cyclist Tony Martin was the first to collide with the sign. It caused a chain effect as several other cyclists trailing behind him tumbled from their bikes as well. The crash resulted in injuries of varying seriousness, causing three to drop from the competition. One was another German cyclist, Jasha Sütterlin as he was suffering from a large hematoma. “It looked like a war zone,” one official commented.
Martin stated he had seen the lady and the sign, but had no time to react. “I can’t understand how people can do things like that,” he said. “We’re here to race our bikes- it’s not a circus.” Although this isn’t the first time fans have caused accidents during the tour, authorities have decided to crack down hard on her.
What do we know of her so far?
The fan presumably took off after the crash and has been untraceable so far. Some believe she may be a German as her sign was a mix of French and German. Others think she has fled the country on a plane bound for Germany. While the endeavour can be compared to hunting for a needle in a haystack, authorities are determined to bring her to task.
Race authorities released a Facebook post asking for information on the fan as they plan to sue her. The French police are also on the hunt for her with reports saying she could be facing either a year in prison or a fine of £13,000 (about RM74,000). Several witnesses who were present at the crash, gave their testimonies, and authorities are in the midst of cross-checking them.
The prosecutor in charge of the case is confident they will catch the woman. The hunt for her has spread to Germany although there is no news if the German authorities will be assisting in the hunt. It has not been ruled out however, as a few German athletes were injured in the crash.
The fan’s actions seem to have been done without malice, but no one would have expected the country-wide manhunt for her. Will we ever discover who she is? Or will she remain a mystery for the years to come?
Watch the video of the crash here: