Professional cyclists’ union the CPA has called for the woman who caused a huge crash on the opening day of this year’s Tour de France when she waved a sign at a TV camera as the riders approached to be made to pay token compensation of €1 when the court case opens tomorrow.
Dozens of riders were brought down after Jumbo-Visma’s Tony Martin, riding on the right-hand side of the peloton, crashed when he was struck by the sign held by the 31-year-old, who initially fled the scene but turned herself into police four days later.
Three riders – Cyril Lemoine of B&B Hotels, Groupama-FDJ’s Ignatas Konovalovas and Team DSM’s Jasha Sütterlin – could not continue in the race, while a fourth, Movistar’s Marc Soler, failed to start the second stage due to injuries sustained in the crash.
The woman is due to appear in court in Brest tomorrow on charges of endangering others and causing unintentional injury resulting in inability to work for no more than three months, reports Ouest France. If found guilty, she could face a fine of up to €15,000 and a year’s imprisonment.
The CPA has joined itself as a civil party to the proceedings, saying that “The task of a trade union is to defend its members,” and that it “has taken on this case not for compensation but to raise awareness of the need to respect athletes in the performance of their profession.”
“The damage suffered by the riders is physical, moral and economic,” CPA president Gianni Bugno said.
“An athlete prepares months for a grand tour and it is not acceptable that all his hard work, that of his family, his staff and his team should be shattered in an instant by the quest for popularity of those who should attend the event without becoming the protagonist.
“We are sure that the spectator did not intentionally want to harm anyone, but with her carelessness she compromised the health and the season of more than one of our members,” he continued.
“The one euro compensation we have asked for does not pay for the fracture of both arms of Marc Soler nor for the consequences suffered by Tony Martin and the other riders who ended up on the ground, but it has a symbolic value,” Bugno added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.