Spectator who caused Tour de France crash appears in court

JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

Prosecutors in the trial of a roadside spectator who caused a massive pile-up during the first stage of the Tour de France in June called for a four-month suspended jail sentence, a lawyer for the riders' union said.

The court postponed its ruling to December 9, lawyer Romuald Palao, who represents the Professional Cyclists' Association (CPA), which is a party to the trial, told reporters after a hearing in the French city of Brest.

The French woman, who has not been named, sent one cyclist tumbling - with dozens more falling to the ground as a consequence - because of a cardboard sign she was holding at a television camera, facing away from the cyclists.

The young woman, who a prosecutor said felt ashamed of what she did, is accused of involuntarily causing injury and putting the lives of others at risk.

Speaking in a low voice, she told the court on Thursday that she made a mistake, a Reuters reporter at the trial saw.

A lawyer for the defendant declined to comment on the trial.

"The public is key to cycling races, it must remain that way, but it must be done with respect for the physical integrity of the riders," Palao said, adding that he hoped the trial would help raise awareness over safety risks in cycling races.

The Tour de France withdrew its own lawsuit in July, saying that while the safety of the race was key, the case had been blown out of proportion after it triggered a media frenzy.

Tour de France organisers on Thursday announced the route of the 2022 edition of the race.

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