Brest, France – The spectator behind one of many greatest pileups in Tour de France historical past goes on trial Thursday charged with injuring dozens of riders on the opening day of the race final June.
The 31-year-old French girl, whose id was withheld after she was focused by a torrent of on-line abuse, has already informed prosecutors she was ashamed by her “stupidity.”
She hoped to be seen by TV cameras whereas holding an indication studying “Allez, Opi-Omi,” utilizing the German phrases for “grandpa and granny,” a nod to her household’s German roots.
However she stepped out too far in entrance of the tightly packed peloton because it sped alongside a slender street towards the end at Landerneau, in western France.
German rider Tony Martin was unable to keep away from bumping into her and fell, forcing dozens of riders to crash whereas others swerved into the crowds of onlookers.
Video footage of the collision and ghastly scenes of medics tending to surprised or grimacing victims sparked outrage amongst followers and race organizers, particularly once they realized the lady had fled the scene as an alternative of staying to assist.
She remained in hiding for 4 days earlier than turning herself in to police.
A number of riders needed to pull out of the race, together with Spain’s Marc Soler, who had each arms damaged.
The ladies was charged with endangering lives and inflicting unintentional accidents. She dangers a nice of as much as €15,000 ($17,300) and a 12 months in jail.
It appears unlikely she’s going to spend time behind bars, nonetheless, as the general public prosecutor of Brest famous after her arrest on June 30 that she had some “private vulnerabilities.”
The Tour’s organizers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), had initially deliberate to sue however later stated it needed to “calm issues down” and wouldn’t be a plaintiff.
However the Switzerland-based Worldwide Affiliation of Riders (CPA) has maintained its grievance and is searching for a symbolic €1 in damages to ship a message in opposition to harmful fan conduct throughout levels.
“The injury suffered by the riders is bodily, ethical and financial,” CPA president Gianni Bugno stated in an announcement Wednesday.
“An athlete prepares months for a grand tour and it isn’t acceptable that each one his arduous work, that of his household, his workers and his crew, must be shattered right away by the search for reputation,” he stated.
Her lawyer, Julien Bradmetz, declined to remark forward of the ruling anticipated Thursday, although the decide may schedule the choice for a later date.
A supply near the case stated the lawyer may argue that race organizers had didn’t take adequate safety measures, citing the sequence of accidents that marked the 108th version of the Tour.
The trial comes the identical day as organizers unveil the route and levels for subsequent 12 months’s race.
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