A huge fall involving around half of the Tour de France peloton sent a stark warning to roadside fans trying to get themselves on television on Saturday. Some 25 miles away from the finish line of stage 1 of the Tour between Brest and Landerneau, a fan brandishing a sign brought down German rider Tony Martin who was riding near the head of the pack and close to excited roadside spectators.
The Jumbo rider fell, bringing down a huge number of riders behind him. The crash held up the race for five minutes while bikes and bodies were untangled. The race leaders slowed down to allow the stragglers to catch up and despite the spectacular tangled only one rider, Germany’s Jasha Sutterlin of DSM, had to pull out due to the accident.
Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli and Dutch rider Wout van Aert, who ran over Martin before falling head over heels, had both been amongst the favourites to win the first stage hilltop finish but were both badly delayed.
Welsh Ineos rider Geraint Thomas and defending champion Tadej Pogacar appeared unhurt, although last year’s runner-up Primoz Roglic looked to have fallen heavily.
Hordes of unmasked fans decked out in red-and-white polka dot caps and shirts lined the narrow Brittany country lanes for the 123 mile stage as France eases its Covid-19 restrictions.