Woman killed at Tour de France

Published 12:28 am Sunday, July 19, 2009

BESANCON, France — A woman crossing the road during the Tour de France was killed Saturday when she was hit by a police motorcycle escorting riders. Two other fans were injured after the motorcycle skidded into them.

The accident happened in the early afternoon in Wittelsheim in eastern France during the 14th stage, a 124-mile route from Colmar to Besancon. A few breakaway riders had just ridden through the town center, Tour organizers said.

Organizers identified the victim as a 61-year-old woman. Race medical teams treated her immediately before emergency staffers arrived.

The accident happened 24 miles into the stage. After hitting the woman, the motorcycle skidded into two other fans. A 36-year-old complained of neck pain, and a 61-year-old broke a leg. They were taken to a hospital and are not in serious condition, Renard said. They were identified only by age.

Seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong expressed condolences to the woman’s family on his Twitter feed.

‘‘There’s many close calls between riders and spectators … Sad news. May she RIP,’’ he wrote.