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Featured Image Credit: PA
A spectator at the Tour de France inadvertently brought the race to a standstill after causing one of the worst crashes fans have ever seen.
German cyclist Tony Martin collided with the spectator stationed at the side of the road, which triggered a domino effect as other athletes came tumbling down around him.
Aerial footage of the incident was shared on social media, including by one user called @cyclingreporter, who wrote: "The worst Tour de France crash I've ever seen."
A clip filmed from a closer angle showed what happened in more detail, having captured how a spectator on the side of the road had prompted the terrifying pile-up, having stepped onto the road to try and get on camera.
The anonymous cycling fan, who was wearing a bright yellow coat, can be seen holding a large cardboard sign that said 'ALLEZ OPI-OMI!', which translates as 'Go Grandpa and Grandma!'.
They held it out and looked upwards, presumably in an attempt to get seen by the race's aerial camera - seemingly completely oblivious to the fast-approaching action behind them.
As the competitors came whizzing towards them, Martin's path was obstructed and he had no choice but to crash into the fan, before the cyclist to his left came crashing down onto him.
Many others ground to a halt, briefly stopping the race as those caught up in the accident tried to gather themselves.
Scariest thing about that crash was that by the time Tony Martin stopped sliding along the road, the spectator who got the in the way was comfortably out of the helicopter shot. #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/JIudtdwnRS
- Nick Bull (@nickbull21) June 26, 2021
According to the Guardian, Slovenian superstar Primoz Roglic also went down 'heavily' in the incident, along with the 'whole Jumbo Visma team' and others including Italian Sonny Colbrelli and eventual stage one winner, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe.
Only a few riders were able to avoid the crash, including Dutch cyclist Ide Schelling.
Teams later took to Twitter to ask fans to avoid obstructing the route.
Our beautiful sport is completely unique and extra special in how accessible we are to the fans.
If we could please remind all spectators along the roads to stand back, at a safe distance, as the race passes by.
- Team Qhubeka NextHash (@QhubekaAssos) June 26, 2021
A later update from the Guardian said Martin stopped to get a new bike, and thankfully looked okay - although had 'blood on his arms'.
However, German rider Jasha Sütterlin ended up having to abandon the race after being involved in the crash.