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Tour de France 2023: Fan causes crash on stage 15 while taking selfie

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Egan Bernal sitting on the ground after coming off his bike
Egan Bernal, winner in 2019, fell on stage 15

A spectator trying to take a selfie caused a crash on stage 15 of the Tour de France with about 20 riders coming off their bikes.

With about 125km remaining Team Jumbo-Visma rider Sepp Kuss had his handlebars knocked by a supporter who was holding out a phone.

Kuss swerved into team-mate Nathan van Hooydonck who fell off his bike, causing a crash behind him.

Saturday’s stage 14 saw six riders abandon after crashes.

All the riders who fell in Sunday’s crash on the 179km stage from Les Gets les Portes du Soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc were able to continue, including 2019 champion Egan Bernal.

General classification leader Jonas Vingegaard and second-placed Tadej Pogacar were unaffected.

‘Please pay attention to the riders’

Shortly after the incident, the official Tour de France Twitter account posted a slow-motion video of a rider ducking under a spectator’s outstretched arm external-linkwith the message: “Please pay attention to the riders.”

Team Jumbo-Visma tweeted: “Please be always aware when watching cycling at the side of the road.”

Team Confidis also tweeted: “Please be careful. So that the party remains a party for the runners but also for you. You don’t need a cell phone to create mind-blowing memories.”

Team Jayco AlUla shared the following message on Twitter: “It looks like the crash was caused by a fan. Please respect the riders and give them space!”

INEOS Grenadiers echoed those thoughts, posting: “If you are spectating at this amazing event, please give the riders room to race.”

An overhead view of the Tour de France crash
An estimated 20 riders came off their bikes during the crash on Stage 15

Analysis – we’ve seen this before

Matt Warwick, BBC Sport

This is not the first time a spectator has caused such a crash.

Following 2021’s ‘Omi & Opi’ scandal, in which a young woman caused a huge pile-up on stage one of the Tour holding up a message in German to her grandparents, riders have been more wary of fans wanting to get close to the action.

Cycling’s world governing body the UCI introduced a range of measures under the SafeR bannerexternal-link just before this race, which incorporates better assessments of high-speed descents following the death of Gino Mader last month, and more management of crowds.

At the top of the Col de Joux Plane climb on Saturday, Pogacar was held up by motorbikes and penned in by crowds standing inches from their heroes.

Across a season, the list of rider casualties is too long, but road cycling is a unique sport, growing in popularity, which trades on the volatility of competing out in the open.

Short presentational grey line

One of the race’s worst crashes occurred in the 2021 Tour de France, when a Frenchwoman clipped German rider Tony Martin on the first stage.

She was ordered to pay a symbolic one euro fine, and after receiving a barrage of abuse her identity was withheld.

Two riders had to pull out of the Tour entirely, while a further eight were treated for injuries.

Spain’s Marc Soler broke both arms in the crash.

The woman turned herself in to police custody and went to court over the incident, leading Tour director Christian Prudhomme to issue a statement.

“She did something daft, she’s no terrorist,” he said. “We just want people to take care when they come to the Tour and remember they are there to see the champions – and not to get on television.”

Cyclist Caleb Ewan after the 2021 crash
In 2021 a crash on Stage One caused two riders to pull out of the Tour completely

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