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Tour de France fan arrested after sign caused cyclists to crash

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By Euronews with AFP, AP
Britain's Chris Froome lays on the road after crashing during the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.8 kilometres 26 June 2021.
Britain's Chris Froome lays on the road after crashing during the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.8 kilometres 26 June 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Daniel Cole
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A woman has been placed in police custody after holding a cardboard sign in front of cyclists during the first stage of the Tour de France, AFP reported.

Several cyclists were injured after the spectator waved a sign with her back to the race around 45 kilometres from the end of the first stage of the competition in Brittany.

A woman was identified and placed in police custody, AFP reported, quoting a source.

"A suspect is in custody," Brest public prosecutor Camille Miansoni said as well, adding that they would "know more by tomorrow morning".

He told the press on Tuesday that the investigation had been progressing well and that they hoped to clarify the details of the event.

Police had put out a call for witnesses and collected several testimonies.

Tour organisers had said they would start legal proceedings against the fan that caused the crash in the first stage from Brest to Landerneau.

The woman had leaned into the path of veteran rider Tony Martin, who fell off his bike and took dozens of others down in his slipstream. German rider Jasha Sutterlin was forced to abandon the race.

Fans gathering on the sides of roads and in villages as riders pass by is part of the tradition and charm of the Tour. But the woman in question leaned into the path of cyclists with her sign that read “Allez Opi-Omi,” a mix of French and German-language terms of endearment for grandparents — “Go Grandpa-Grandma.”

The cyclists of the Tour de France expressed their dissatisfaction with the conditions of the race on Tuesday, by pausing for one minute, 500 metres after the start of the 4th stage between Redon and Fougères.