Tour de France 2021: Fan with sign causes major crash; what does ‘allez opi-omi’ mean?
The Tour de France is no stranger to massive crashes, and on Saturday a major crash happened early in Stage 1.
A massive pile-up of cyclists occurred near the beginning of the stage when a spectator held a cardboard sign too far out into the road and hit Tony Martin, causing him to fall off his bike and knock over a large swath of riders behind him.
Many riders avoided the crash and kept heading out, including Julian Alaphilippe, who ultimately won Stage 1.
MORE: Tour de France schedule, 2021 route, TV channels
Here’s what you need to know about the sign and other major crashes in Tour de France history.
The sign is a combination of two languages, French and German. “Allez” means “go” in French, according to Google Translate, while “opi” and “omi” are German terms for “grandpa” and “grandma,” according to Dict.cc. So the sign would translate to “Go grandpa-grandma.”
Most riders were able to continue on after the sign incident, but Jasha Sutterlin had to leave the race because of the crash, according to NBC Sports.
The Tour de France tweeted later that while it is happy to have spectators on hand to take in the race, it wanted fans to “respect the safety of the riders” and not to “risk everything for a photo or to get on television.”
This might be a case where that fan will hope their grandparents did not see them on TV.
The crash was one of two on the day, with some calling it one of the worst crashes in race history.
Another crash occurred with less than 10 kilometers remaining in the stage. It took out former champion Chris Froome and dozens of other riders.
MORE: 13 worst crashes in Tour de France history
Plenty of Tour crashes have resulted in major pile-ups or come at the hands of non-riders.
In 1999, Giuseppe Guerini crashed into a photographer when nearing the top of the Alpe d’Huez, though he was able to get up and win the stage. Bernard Hinault was leading the 1985 tour when he got into a crash with five other bikers that resulted in Hinault breaking his nose. He did cross the finish line of the stage, however, and ultimately won that year’s race.
Saturday’s pile-up was not the only major crash to happen in the first stage of the Tour de France, either. In 1994, a police officer trying to get a photo of the race was hit by Willfried Nelissen, causing a number of other riders to collide.
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