The most famous race in the cycling world, Tour de France, started on Saturday, June 26th. The race consists of 21 stages, and the first one provided excitement, chaos, injuries, and much more.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe won the 123 miles (198 km) stage, but that wasn’t the day’s main talking point. Two crashes have injured over 21 riders, with the first one caused by a careless spectator.
The spectator held a sign to be on TV but ended up blocking Germany’s Tony Martin, knocking him off his bike. That caused the whole peloton to crash, including the eventual winner Alaphilippe.
The second crash occurred within the final 6 mi (10 km) of the stage. Frencham Cyril Lemoine lost control of his bike and hit the wheel of another biker. Four-time Tour winner Chris Froome was involved in the second crash and suffered some injuries.
Defending champion, Tadej Pogacar, was involved in the first crash and finished 6th. One of his teammates suffered a separated shoulder.
In the end, four riders were forced to retire after the crashes:
- Ignatas Konovalovas suffered head trauma
- Cyril Lemoine ended up with four broken ribs, a moderate pneumothorax, and a head injury
- Jasha Sütterlin retired due to an injured hand
- Marc Soler, who heroically finished the stage, fractured both elbows
Organizers of the event stated that they would sue the spectator who caused the first crash in an effort to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Tour de France is the most prestigious event in cycling. The race was established in 1903 by a newspaper editor, Henri Desgrange, and a journalist, Geo Lefevre, to boost sales. It’s over 2,000 miles long, going through towns, the countryside, and the mountains.