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Stage 1 pile-up caused by fan to start 2021 race

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A spectator with a sign posing for a camera clipped a Tour de France bicyclist, causing the rider to crash and start a massive pile-up in Stage 1 on Saturday. 

The fan was not watching when the oncoming rider was among the hundreds of bicyclists on a narrow part of the course. With no gate or blockage from spectators and bicyclists, the first crash from the sign mishap then set in motion a literal domino effect with cyclists falling over left and right. 

At least one bike was damaged as a result of the crash, according to the broadcast. There were no reported injuries, although the initial bicyclist who was clipped by the sign appeared to get trampled by other bikes after initially falling. Announcers on NBC sports called it a “massive crash” and “royal mess.” 

The Tour de France started Saturday and is set to run through July 18 with 21 days of biking altogether.

The event was pushed back to August last year due to COVID-19. With vaccines available and COVID numbers dropping globally, the event was moved back to June in 2021. Fans were allowed to be close to riders cheering as they usually have been in the past. 

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