The 2021 Tour de France got off to a crash-filled start Saturday. Cyclist Tony Martin rode into a fan holding a cardboard sign Saturday during the first stage, which began in Brest, France. The fan, who appeared to be trying to get on TV, was in the road and took out nearly an entire peloton of riders.
"It was stressful," said former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, via The Associated Press. "I was just concentrating on staying on my bike, basically. Happy to get through it."
The worst Tour de France crash I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/1jngQE1pYg— daniel (@cyclingreporter) June 26, 2021
A huge crash at #TDF2021 this morning was caused when a spectator held out a sign and struck a rider.— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 26, 2021
Jasha Sütterlin was forced to withdraw from the race due to an injury sustained in the crash, according to @LeTour. pic.twitter.com/XCcEjHRAGp
It was the first of two pileups in the stage. The Tour de France's official Twitter account later cautioned fans to protect the cyclists while enjoying the event.
"Don't risk everything for a photo or to get on television!" the tweet said.
Former world champion Julian Alaphilippe was involved in the first crash but stayed on his bike and went on to win the stage.