After a four-day search, the woman accused of holding a banner that caused the crash of dozens of cyclists during the first stage of the Tour de France has been arrested and is being interrogated by police.
Public prosecutor Camille Miansoni said on Thursday the 30-year-old woman turned herself into police and expressed feelings “of shame, of fear, in the face of the consequences of her act”. She is “distressed by the media coverage of what she calls ‘her blunder,”” added Miansoni.
The accident happened last Saturday when a female spectator on the side of the road held up a big sign which caused a massive crash 45 kilometers from the finish of the first stage of the race from Brest to Landerneau.
The sign said ‘ALLEZ OPI-OMI !’ in French and German and it was not immediately clear what she meant to say on the sign which translates to ‘Go Grandma and Grandpa.’
According to the race’s video coverage of Saturday’s incident, the sign hit German rider Tony Martin who was cycling near the head of the pack. Martin fell, which led to the subsequent crash of dozens of riders behind him.
Cyclists fell en masse and the crash left bikes and bodies tangled in the road. The fall held the race up for several minutes.
Three riders withdrew from the race after the crash due to their injuries. “So disappointed,” German cyclist Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM reportedly said.
“Following the crash, he was taken to hospital for examinations which revealed no broken bones, but a severe contusion to his right wrist that will require further examinations back at home,” Team DSM said in a statement about Sütterlin.
The opening stages of this year’s Tour have been marred by a series of crashes.
“Following the crashes during the third stage of the Tour de France, the riders have been discussing how they wish to proceed to show their dissatisfaction with safety measures in place and demand their concerns are taken seriously,” the riders’ union, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés, said in a statement. “Their frustration about foreseeable and preventable action is enormous.”
In a press conference on Thursday, local chief of police Nicolas Duvinage called for calm, saying the woman was trying to send a message on TV to her grandparents and that it is “wise not to carry out a media lynching.”