On Saturday, June 26th, a woman caused a crash during the Tour de France, and French authorities are now looking for her. Her cardboard sign reading “Allez OPI omi” caused a massive pileup of tour riders, and she could spend the next year in jail because of it. An unidentified woman stepped in front of the peloton and held up a cardboard sign, blocking the path of the group of cyclists.
French authorities have released a photo showing the woman with her foot in the road and her sign extending far beyond the designated viewing area. The incident took place in Brittany with about 45 kilometers left in the first stage of the Tour. Jumbo-Tony Visma’s Martin collided head-on with the cardboard sign, causing a chain reaction that was inevitable given the cyclists’ speed and tight formation.
Martin walked away unscathed, but the stage suffered greatly and one rider had to abandon the race due to injury. Martin posted a plea on Instagram, asking spectators to “respect the riders.” What did the woman want to say with her sign, and why was it so crucial that we see it on TV?
Grandma and Grandpa, I’m on Tv!
Since “Allez” means “go” in French and “Opi-Omi” is a Germanized form of “grandpa and grandma,” the phrase literally translates to “Go Grandpa and Grandma.” Accordingly, it appears that the woman was just trying to contact her grandparents and tell them she had been featured on a global television network.
Apparently, she made quite an impression, as the French authorities are now eager to learn her true identity. The Gendarmerie du Finistère has posted on their official Facebook page that they are looking for the careless spectator responsible for the fall, and have asked for any witnesses to come forward.
A criminal investigation has been initiated for “involuntary injuries by a deliberate breach of an obligation of safety or caution” in connection with an accident that occurred on June 26, 2021, in the RD30 municipality of St. Cadou, during the first stage of the Tour de France 2021.
Before the authorities could question him, the spectator who caused the accident had already fled the scene. She sported eyewear and a casual outfit of blue jeans, a red and white striped sweater, and a bright yellow jacket (waxed). She’s got a sign that says, “ALLEZ OPI-IMO!” in front of her. Please contact the Finistère Gendarmerie’s Operational Centre if you have any information.
What Will happen to The Spectator in Question?
According to the French newspaper L’Equipe, the female spectator will have to pay a €1,500 fine. However, German cyclist Jasha Sütterlin, who withdrew from the competition due to a wrist injury, could face up to a year in prison and a €15,000 (£12,900) fine if she chooses to file a complaint.
From DSM Team member Sütterlin comes the following statement: There are no words to express how dismayed I am. As a result of the stiffness in my right wrist, I was unable to function today. It’s good that nothing was damaged,
⚠ 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
but I’m really sad to have to go home. The other guys on the Tour have my best wishes. The team doctor, Dr. Camiel Aldershof, reported that Jasha had a severe contusion to his right wrist and needed stitches there as well as in his elbow.