A woman with a cardboard sign dropped almost the entire pack yesterday. There is great indignation in the caravan and among cycling fans at home. Unfortunately, it is not the first time that a spectator has influenced the course.
1. Photographer Overthrows Guerini (1999)
For perhaps the most famous “case” by a spectator in Tour history, we have to go back to 1999. Giuseppe Guerini is on his way to the greatest victory of his career at Alpe d’Huez, when a photographer thinks he can shoot a beautiful picture and stands right in front of him on the road. Guerini does not see the photographer and falls. Fortunately, he can quickly get back on his bike and still race to victory.
2. Sailor overthrows Tour winner Petit-Breton (1911)
Lucien Petit-Breton was the first rider to win the Tour de France twice. In 1911 he starts for a third overall victory, but things go wrong in the first stage. In the port city of Dunkirk he collides with a crossing sailor. Petit-Breton injures his knee in his fall and has to give up. He will never win the Tour again.
3. The Tragic Story of Carlo Tonon (1984)
Perhaps the most tragic story we saw in the Tour of 1984. In the descent of the Joux Plane, a crossing spectator overthrows the Italian Carlo Tonen. Tonon falls into a coma and will be disabled for life. He took his own life in 1996 at the age of just 41.
4. Supporter’s fist hits Merckx (1975)
Eddy Merckx learned during his career that fame and success also had a downside. Not everyone could taste De Kannibaal’s urge to win. In the 1975 Tour, nothing or no one seems to be able to keep Merckx from a 6th record win.
But on the Puy de Dôme he gets a blow in the liver from a spectator. After the finish, Merckx went to recover from the man, who would later be sentenced to a symbolic compensation of 1 franc. Because of that blow, Merckx, who also broke his cheekbone a day later, cannot defend his chances sufficiently. A 6th overall victory is gone forever.
5. Nelissen collides with shooting cop (1994)
The images still send a shiver down the spine of many cycling fans: Wilfried Nelissen hits a photographing police officer in full sprint in Armentières. In his fall he drags a large part of the pack with him.
6. Like a Dog in a Skittles Game (2007)
The 2007 Tour de France is characterized by stray dogs overthrowing the riders. Marcus Burghardt is a victim in one incident and Frederik Willems and Sandy Casar are also knocked over by a dog in a leading group. Casar will back out and still win that day.
7. PMU hand fells Thor Hushovd in the sprint (2006)
For years, gambling company PMU was a loyal sponsor of the Tour de France. Characteristic were their huge rubber or plastic hands, which they handed out to cycling fans as gadgets. It is such a hand that prologue winner and yellow jersey Thor Hushovd in the 2006 sprint to the ground. Hushovd gets a few stitches, but will eventually bite through and still win the stage on the Champs Elysées.
8. Bonifazio crashes into mobile phone (2019)
Even more sprinter disaster in the Tour of 2019. The PMU hands have already disappeared from the streets, but countless fans are still trying to take the dream photo of the sprint with their mobile phone. It is one of those mobile phones that touches the helmet of Niccolo Bonifazio, who fortunately remains upright, but can write his chances of winning on his stomach.
9. Belgian official dies after collision with Darrigade (1958)
Frenchman André Darrigade was one of the fastest sprinters in Tour history. He wore his nickname the Flying Basque proudly. But in the Tour of 1958, things go wrong on the slopes of the Parc des Princes. The Belgian official Constant Wouters is a little too close to the velodrome, so that Darrigade can no longer avoid him in the sprint. 11 days later Wouters dies from his injuries.