An overzealous fan caused a huge crash during the first stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.
A fan on the side of the road contrived to hit Tony Martin with a placard causing a huge pile-up that brought down most of the rest of the peloton, with Wout van Aert, Primoz Roglic (both Jumbo–Visma), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Marc Soler (Movistar) coming down hard.
This is how Eurosport’s live blogger Felix Lowe called the crash.
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Oh no, oh no... this is not what we want to see. There's a huge pile-up in the pack after Tony Martin is hit by the placard being held by a spectator on the side of the road. The result is pretty sickening - the German veteran hits the deck hard and is soon covered by bodies, with riders left sprawling across the road and in the ditch. This will take quite some time to unpick. Wout van Aert looks like he went down badly, as did Sonny Colbrelli and Marc Soler of Movistar.
“A mass crash!” exclaimed Rob Hatch on commentary.
This is chaos! This is exactly what we didn’t want on the first day of the Tour de France. An absolute disaster!
When a replay emerged, Hatch added:
“It was a supporter, it was a supporter! Oh no! That is a sickener! I think we might be counting the cost of this for a while!
Brian Smith on co-commentary had words of condemnation for the fan, adding:
You can see the lad on the side of the road is just trying to get on television – a stupid, stupid thing! A stupid, stupid mistake by a supporter at the side of the road pretty much takes down the whole of the peloton.
Riders who escaped the spill – mainly Deceuninck-QuickStep and Ineos – took their foot off the gas and sat up to account for the crash, but Jasha Sutterlin (Team DSM) would have to abandon.
Later on in the stage, there was another brutal pile-up - one which Chris Froome found himself caught up in.
A rider from B&B Hotels p/b KTM came down approaching the final climb of the day, causing a huge pile-up that brought down almost half of the peloton.

‘He is down on his return to the Tour’ - Froome caught up in ‘absolute disaster’ of a crash

Rob Hatch was aghast.
“It is an absolute shocker,” he began. “More than half the peloton down and it is exactly what we didn’t want mark II.”
A replay would later reveal that Froome – a four-time winner of the Tour – was in considerable discomfort following the crash.
“Chris Froome is down on his return to the Tour de France,” added Hatch. “And he is looking hurt!”
“Absolute disaster situation here! This is a crash – 6.3km – from the line that could condition the race, the GC, the whole thing. If we thought the last one was bad, this for the race, as well as any health implications, could be an absolute disaster!”
Froome would eventually remount his bike but he lost considerable time and Hatch had said as he laid prone on the floor:
This is a horrible sight. Froome shaking his head - after all the fight, after all the hard yards, and after the pain and torture he has put in to get back to this level.


Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme admitted that Saturday’s opening stage of the Tour de France had been designed with Julian Alaphilippe in mind – and the French world champion duly delivered with an astonishing win to secure the yellow jersey in Landerneau.
Alaphilippe darted out of the wheel of Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Dries Devenyns with 2.3km remaining to open up a gap over his rivals on the steepest part of the final climb, the Cote de la Fosse aux Loups.
And despite last year’s yellow jersey protagonists – the Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic – leading the chase, Alaphilippe’s bold early move paid off as the 29-year-old added another huge win to his swelling palmares, days after becoming a father for the first time.
The Australian Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) led a small chase pack over the line eight seconds down ahead of Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic, as Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman since Bernard Hinault in 1981 to win the opening stage of the Tour de France while displaying the famous rainbow bands.
After bonus seconds were factored in, Alaphilippe leads Matthews by 12 seconds at the top of the general classification with Roglic, last year’s runner-up, two seconds back in third. Matthews will don the green jersey on Sunday’s second stage, Dutchman Ide Schelling will be in polka dots after the Bora-Hansgrohe debutant starred in the day’s breakaway, while defending champion Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will be in white after taking a solid sixth on a day of drama.

Highlights: Alaphilippe takes brilliant solo win after two huge pile-ups on Stage 1


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