The Tour de France is no stranger to massive falls, and on Saturday a major fall occurred at the start of Stage 1.
A huge stack of cyclists occurred near the start of the stage when a spectator held a cardboard sign too far into the road and struck Tony Martin, knocking him off his bike and knocking over a large number of riders behind him.
A huge crash at # TDF2021 this morning was caused when a bystander held up a sign and hit a horseman.
– NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 26, 2021
Many riders avoided the crash and kept on heading, including Julian Alaphilippe, who ultimately won Stage 1.
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Here’s what you need to know about the sign and other major accidents in Tour de France history.
What does “go opi-omi” mean?
The sign is a combination of two languages, French and German. “Go” means “to go” in French, according to Google Translate, while “opi” and “omi” are German terms for “grandfather” and “grandmother”, according to Dict.cc. The sign would therefore translate as “Go grandfather-grandmother”.
Most of the runners were able to continue after the panel incident, but Jasha Sutterlin had to quit the race due to the crash, according to NBC Sports.
The Tour de France later tweeted that while he was happy to have spectators on hand to watch the race, he wanted fans to “respect the safety of the riders” and not “risk everything for a photo or for go on television “.
We are happy to have the public by the side of the road on the # TDF2021.
But for the Tour to be a success, respect the safety of the runners!
Don’t risk everything for a photo or to be on television! pic.twitter.com/eA6nnhRhWv
– Tour de France ™ (@LeTour) June 26, 2021
This could be a case where this fan is hoping his grandparents haven’t seen them on TV.
Other major accidents of the Tour de France
The crash was one of two of the day, with some calling it one of the worst crashes in racing history.
Another accident occurred with less than 10 kilometers to go. He knocked out former champion Chris Froome and dozens of other runners.
MORE: 13 Worst Falls In Tour De France History
Numerous Tour accidents have resulted in major pilings or have occurred at the hands of non-riders.
In 1999, Giuseppe Guerini crashed into a photographer as he approached the top of Alpe d’Huez, although he was able to get up and win the stage. Bernard Hinault was leading the 1985 tour when he had an accident with five other bikers which broke his nose. He crossed the finish line of the stage, however, and ultimately won that year’s race.
Saturday’s pile-up was not the only major accident to occur on the first stage of the Tour de France, either. In 1994, a policeman trying to get a photo of the race was struck by Willfried Nelissen, causing several other runners to collide.