- A doctor who dealt with Saturday’s mass crash at the Tour de France’s said it was like a “war scene.”
- The incident happened when German rider Tony Martin crashed into a fan’s roadside sign.
- Doctor Gilbert Versier told L’Equipe that there were “bodies everywhere and tangled machines.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A doctor who dealt with Saturday’s huge crash at the Tour de France has described it as a resembling a “war zone.”
The incident took place during the race’s first day as riders made their way between the northwestern regions of Brest and Landerneau.
A female spectator turned her back to the riders and held up a sign reading “ALLEZ OPI-OMI!,” or “GO GRANDPA, GRANDMA.”
As she did so, team Jumbo-Visma rider Tony Martin collided with the sign, causing him to fall and crash into surrounding riders, setting off a domino effect as dozens more fell.
-Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 26, 2021
At least 21 riders were injured, reports Cycling News, including Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM, who had to abandon the race because of damage to his wrists.
“It looks like a war zone, the same chaos, the same moans, bodies everywhere and tangled machines,” Gilbert Versier, an orthopedic surgeon at the event told French publication L’Equipe.
Versier has previously worked as a military doctor in both Iraq and Afghanistan, L’Equipe said.
“You can’t imagine so much damage. In the midst of the commotion, the riders getting up and wanting to start again, the most serious cases must be identified.
“In general, these are the ones who are furthest from the accident site, because they have been thrown [from their bikes]”
The spectator who held the sign, who is believed to be German according to the French media, has yet to be identified. Once she is, an organizer of the Tour de France said that she will be sued.
“We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” said the event’s deputy director, Pierre-Yves Thouault. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
L’Equipe reports that the public prosecutor for the Finistère region has also opened an investigation into the woman for a deliberate violation of safety regulations and for causing “unintentional injuries with incapacity not exceeding three months.”
If found guilty, she could face a fine of almost $18,000 and a year in prison if any injured rider decides to press charges.