The CPA, the men’s cycling union, is suing the infamous “Allez Opi-Omi” spectator for a symbolic €1. The spectator in question got in the way of the peloton on the opening stage of this year’s Tour de France, causing a mass pile-up that significantly impacted the race outcome and saw a handful of riders forced to leave the race.
In addition to criminal charges for endangering others that could result in a €15,000 fine and prison time, the spectator will also have the civil claim put forth by the CPA. With the lawsuit, the CPA intends to impress upon the public the importance of rider safety and respecting the riders while spectating cycling events. The trial will take place on October 14th.
“With this gesture, the CPA wants to draw attention to a responsible and respectful attitude towards riders in the performance of their profession,” the CPA said in a statement. “Fans, but more generally all those who pass them while they are training or competing, must behave appropriately. The images of the ‘fan in yellow’ have gone around the world and should be a warning that such episodes will never happen again.”
“The damage suffered by the riders is physical, moral and economic. An athlete prepares months for a grand tour and it is not acceptable that all his hard work, that of his family, his staff and his team should be shattered in an instant by the quest for popularity of those who should attend the event without becoming the protagonist,” said CPA president Gianni Bugno.
Local police immediately opened an investigation following the stage 1 crash and after a few days the spectator turned herself in. At the time Tour de France race organizers also threatened to sue the spectator but eventually decided against it.