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“I’m ashamed, I regret my stupidity” says spectator who caused Tour de France crash

31-year-old who spent 24 hours in custody after turning herself in yesterday appeared outside court in Brest this afternoon

The spectator who caused a huge crash at the Tour de France on Saturday has said, “I’m ashamed, I regret my stupidity.”

The 31-year-old, who was released from 24 hours’ custody this afternoon after turning herself in yesterday, was speaking at a press conference outside court in Brest today, reports Ouest-France.

The French woman, who lives with her partner in the north of the Finistere, caused the crash when, her back to the peloton, she held out a placard with the words “Allez Opi-Omi, which she explained was a message to her grandmother, originally from Germany and a huge fan of the Tour.

With nowhere to go, Tony Martin of Jumbo-Visma crashed into the woman, and on a narrow road dozens of riders were brought down, including Team DSM rider Jasha Sutterlin, who had to abandon with a broken wrist, and Marc Soler of Movistar, who completed the stage but was found to have fractures in both arms and did not start the next day.

Camille Miansoni, public prosecutor for Brest, said a decision will now be taken on how to proceed against the spectator, whom he said was not previously known to the police or the judiciary, and that any action taken “would be proportionate to the seriousness of the case and the personality of the perpetrator.”

She potentially faces a charge “unintentional injuries with incapacity not exceeding three months by manifestly willful breach of an obligation of safety or caution,” which could lead to a fine of €1,500.

However, if any injured party files a complaint – as Soler has indicated he may do – that could rise to €15,000 and a one-year jail sentence. The pro riders’ union, the CPA, has filed an official complaint with police, but Tour de France organisers ASO today withdrew its own complaint against her, with the race’s deputy director, Pierre-Yves Thouault, saying it had decided to draw a line under the issue after the media onslaught the spectator faced afterwards.

“Attention must be focused on the riders, not the public,” he said, adding that spectators must “scrupulously respect the safety rules.”

The woman, accompanied by her partner, turned herself in to the Gendarmerie in Landernau, the town that hosted the finish of the opening stage – the crash happened with 45km remaining, and she sustained an injured arm – yesterday just before officers were due to arrive at her home to arrest her.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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