The spectator who caused one of the biggest pile-ups in Tour de France history faces a four-month suspended prison sentence after going on trial for injuring dozens of riders during last year’s race.
The 31-year-old French woman, whose identity has been hidden due to online abuse, stepped into the path of the peloton to hold up a sign for passing TV cameras.
She is accused of endangering lives and causing unintentional injuries.
She could be imprisoned for a year and fined €15,000 but on Thursday, at a hearing in Brest, prosecutors called for a four-month suspended jail sentence.
The 31-year-old woman who caused a massive crash at the Tour de France in June has been handed a four-month suspended prison sentence
Tony Martin had nowhere to go when the supporter stepped out, looking at the TV cameras
The woman said she was ashamed of her ‘stupidity’ on the first day of the Tour when, on a narrow road near the finish at Landerneau, she held up a cardboard sign reading ‘Allez Opi-Omi’.
Opi and Omi are German terms for grandfather and grandmother.
German rider Tony Martin clattered into the spectator and fell, prompting a mass pile-up as many riders crashed or swerved into the crowd. A number of riders abandoned the race, including Spain’s Marc Soler who broke his arms.
Martin was the man brought down initially and was left with some road rash on his left side
Julian Alaphilippe, who came down in the crash, remounted and went on to take victory
The defendant, who has no criminal record, fled the scene and went into hiding for four days before handing herself over to police. Tour de France organisers dropped a lawsuit against her in July, insisting the story ‘had been blown out of proportion’.
However, the International Association of Riders wants damages – a symbolic €1 – to send a message to supporters about dangerous roadside behaviour.
‘The damage is physical, moral and economic,’ said president Gianni Bugno. The court will reportedly rule on December 9.
The trial took place as organisers unveiled the route for next year’s race, which starts in Copenhagen and includes trips into Switzerland and Belgium.