Tour de France cyclists have slammed 'dangerous and stupid’ English fans who were taking ‘vain’ selfies while in the midst of the action at the beginning of the race.
Despite several warnings and pleas from both riders and race officials a very small minority of fans caused havoc on the narrow roads used for much of the Tour de France early action in England.
Quite why spectators thought that their viewing experience would be made all the better by filming the action with their phones was beyond the realms of logic.
It was particularly baffling and frustrating given that the host broadcast feed of the Tour de France is so consistently brilliant, yet fans just wanted their own photos and videos.
We have already seen many troubling incidents involving fans and riders in the Tour's early stages in Britain, and many competitors have been getting increasingly riled.
It seems entirely understandable given the lengths to which fans go to get their photos, or 'selfies', taken with stars in the same shot as them.
— Alexander Britton (@adbritton) July 6, 2014
If you go to watch the Tour De France you obviously have to take a Tour De France Selfiepic.twitter.com/WHRBHs0fVM
— Sapphire Bates (@andsapphiretoo) July 7, 2014
Leading rider Marcel Kittel was felled early in stage two – and it was not his Giant Shimano team’s only spectator scare throughout the hilly stage in the north of England in Yorkshire.
Ramunas Navardauskas lost his trademark Lithuanian cool in quite spectacular fashion as the peloton grappled through the crowds on the ascent of Holme Moss on Sunday, as the video below demonstrates.
Navardauskas twice knocked phones out of the prying hands of spectators in what was the biggest rider backlash since Belgium’s Wout Poels snatched a spectator’s pair of sunglasses and threw them down a ravine during the Giro in May.
After the stage numerous riders complained about the rise of smartphones on the side of the road.
"People are taking selfies with their back towards the peloton - it’s very dangerous," Jurgen van den Broeck told Belgian TV.
On Twitter, BMC’s Tejay van Garderen left a rather cryptic message thought to have been in reference to this current fad.
A dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity......... — Tejay van Garderen (@tejay_van) July 6, 2014
On any normal day the biggest worry for this man would be being spotted in public wearing a pink polo shirt. That was until he decided to watch the approaching peloton through the viewfinder of his camera, with his left arm and leg dangerously encroaching upon the road just as Giant Shimano’s Roy Curvers was preparing his man Marcel Kittel for the intermediate sprint.
Somehow both Curvers and a team-mate – perhaps Koen de Kort – avoided hitting the deck, but the spectator was clearly sent spinning to the floor in quite a violent fashion.
Team Sky star Geraint Thomas has since slammed the fans who have been taking increasing risks just to get their moment of 'selfie' glory.
"It’s a new pain the a**e," he said. "They just don’t see us coming when they’re stood in the road.
"There have been too many big accidents with riders hitting spectators, we don’t want it to happen again."
Meanwhile, American cyclist Tejay van Garderen voiced his concerns on Twitter, calling those who have been taking selfies "dangerous and stupid".
With speeds of up to 40mph along small roads with very sharp turns during many stages, the risks that fans are now taking with their phones is very alarming indeed.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tour de France