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3 Memorable Tour de France Accidents

These are some of the most notorious accidents that have happened in the Tour de France

Cyclist in a race

We bring you a little review of the worst falls in the Tour de France. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: 3 accidentes memorables en el Tour de France

A few weeks ago, a cycling “fanatic” caused a dangerous accident on the first stage of the Tour de France, which resulted in dozens of cyclists injured.

This made us think of other times when, unfortunately, the coolest Tour in cycling was interrupted by an accident. Let's do a little review of them.

Armentieres, 1994

One of the most notorious accidents that have occurred on the Tour was in 1994, at the end of the first stage of that edition. After a fairly flat stage, the riders started the final sprint, but after 234 km of sprinting, a policeman ruined everything.

The officer hit the road to take a photo of the final sprint, causing Belgian Wilfried Nelissen to crash into him. This caused Nelissen to fall and break her collarbone, knocking another cyclist, Laurent Jalabert, down with her. The accident was traumatic for Jalabert, who had to be hospitalized and change his cycling style forever. He never looked for group sprints again.

A cyclist dies on the Tour, 1995

One of the most tragic episodes in the history of the Tour occurred the following year when the cyclist Fabio Casartelli died on stage number 15 of the 1995 Vuelta. It was a mountainous stage, covering a distance of 206 km between Saint-Girons and Cauterets.

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Precisely on the descent from Portet D'Aspet, at kilometer 34, the fatal accident happened. There was a group fall that resulted in serious injuries to several cyclists. However, Casartelli got the worst of it. The Italian collided with a parapet and flew through the air, crashing without a helmet against the asphalt, (at that time, the use of it was not mandatory).

Casartelli was immediately evacuated by helicopter but died before reaching the Tarbes hospital. The next stage was run non-competitively as a posthumous tribute.

Since Casartelli's death, the use of a helmet has been mandatory at every stage of the Tour.

Peter Sagan causes a fall in 2017

This accident was controversial at the time, as it resulted in Peter Sagan's disqualification from the Tour de France.

Sagan, the then world champion, elbowed Britain's Mark Cavendish, which resulted in his downfall. Cavendish's injuries were so severe that he had to withdraw from the race, after finishing the stage with a bloody arm.

Sagan was eventually exonerated, as multiple commenters, riders and even the UCI determined after watching replays that his expulsion was not successful. However, at the time, it was a very controversial decision, removing the best exponent of the sport in the biggest event of the year. It is as if Messi had been eliminated from the finals of the European Championship.