A spectator holding a cardboard sign caused a series of bike crashes Saturday during the first stage of the Tour de France, an annual multi-stage cycling race.
The fan, facing away from the cyclists and posing for the camera, held a sign that said “allez opi omi,” which loosely translates to “go.” (RELATED: Tour de France: Sheep interrupt mountain race)
look at this absolute nightmare that resulted pic.twitter.com/3Nf2QFMqHu
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 26, 2021
— William Rodríguez (@w_rsalva) June 26, 2021
Cyclist Toni Martin crashed into the sign and fell, causing dozens of others – about half of the riders – to crash behind him, The New York Post reported. Martin returned to the race, but Germany’s Jasha Sutterlin reportedly withdrew. One bike got completely damaged, according to Yahoo News.
The Tour cautioned fans to “respect the safety of the riders” and “Don’t risk everything for a photo or to get on television!” according to The New York Post.
Julian Alaphilippe, who won the first stage, was the third French world champion to win on the race’s opening day after Georges Speicher in 1934 and Bernard Hinault in 1981, The New York Post reported.
The Tour de France will continue through July 18 and will include two rest days. The event was scheduled to take place in August due to a delay from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Yahoo News. With vaccines readily available, however, it moved back to June.