A French court has handed a four-month suspended prison sentence to the spectator who caused a huge crash on the first day of Tour de France last June.
The 31-year-old fan, whose name has been withheld after she was subjected to online abuse, was charged with endangering lives and causing unintentional injuries to dozens of riders.
The presiding judge, however, rejected a request from the fan’s lawyer to hold the trial behind closed doors.
The fan from Brittany, France told prosecutors at the courthouse in Brest on Oct. 14 that she felt ashamed of her “stupidity.”
Last June 26, the fan leaned into the road while holding up a cardboard banner that read, “Allez, Opi-Omi” — the German informal terms for grandfather and grandmother. As she was trying to catch the attention of TV cameras, she was unaware of the approaching cyclists behind her.
German rider Tony Martin was unable to avoid bumping into her and fell, leading to dozens of riders to crash.
The crash caused some riders to abandon the race with injuries, including broken bones. It was one of the biggest pile-ups in the history of the race.
Spain’s Marc Soler broke both his arms in the crash.
The fan fled the scene and went into hiding for four days before giving herself up to the police.
A lawyer representing the Switzerland-based International Association of Riders (CPA) said that they hoped the sentence would serve as a message to how serious her actions were.
“This case is representative of what can happen with people who want to take center-stage themselves with pictures, videos. It has to be done with a minimum of common sense and this was not the case there,” the lawyer said.
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