Dozens of riders were being brought down as two crashes were captured on camera during the opening stage of the Tour de France.
The first half of the stage, which started in Brest, in the northwest part of France, was relatively quiet with a small breakaway up the road. But as the race heated up chaos ensued.
The worst Tour de France crash I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/1jngQE1pYg
— daniel (@cyclingreporter) June 26, 2021
According to local media, the first big crash happened with about 45 kilometers to go when a rider at the front of the main bunch — Tony Martin on the Jumbo-Visma team — hit a fan’s cardboard sign sticking out into the road.
The fan holding the sign appeared to be looking at the TV cameras — not at the coming riders. Martin went down hard, sending a chain reaction through the peloton.
Huge crash on stage 1 of Le Tour de France today.
— MUHQ News (@MUHQNews) June 26, 2021
Medical staff tended to the cyclists. Many had cuts and bruises but continued riding, albeit with bloody arms and legs.
The crash immediately forced at least one rider, Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM, to abandon the race. Others were expected to have to stop as well. As for Martin he looked beat up but continued.
— Sporza 🚴 (@sporza_koers) June 26, 2021
But then not long after, with about 7.6 kilometers to go, there was another big crash. It wasn’t immediately clear what happened in the second crash.