The careless photographer whose telephoto lens caused a cyclist to fall, break his arm and sent numerous other racers sprawling last week will possibly be facing several lawsuits for the incident. In the sprinting portion of Stage 6 of the world’s second most famous bicycle race (after the Tour de France), the Giro d’Italia, cyclist Daniele Colli ran into a spectator’s camera lens and broke his arm in two places.  The race leader, Alberto Contador, also suffered a dislocated shoulder. If you missed the story, you can read it and watch the graphic video in this article.

After a long and painful surgery, where two screws were inserted, Colli and his team have filed an official criminal complaint and are considering a possible civil suit against the photographer for “the damage caused to the team,” reports the team manager, Francesco Pelosi. The photographer could face another civil suit from race coordinators RCS Sport for “ruining the imagine of our race.”


Not Paying Attention

The photographer, who was also reported to have suffered some injuries, has only been identified as a 30-year-old local camera store owner on the Tuscan coast in Castiglione della Pescaia named Mark. Mark released the following statement through his lawyer on Saturday as reported in Italian in La Gazzetta dello Sport, (translated thanks to Italian language student and one of our London readers, Dean Ayres):

I am sorry for what has happened. I hope Daniele Colli recovers soon and that Contador finishes the tour in the saddle. I am deeply saddened by what has happened, and although I am convinced that I have not been careless, I am anguished by the idea that a young person has had to abandon the Tour due to the fall. The reconstructions and the statements of these days have unfortunately turned an accident into a mystery, and a normal person into a monster. I am close to the two injured sportsmen, and I hope that Daniel will give me a way to visit him as soon as possible.

Reports suggest that Mark was leaning over the railing that separates the crowds and the cyclists and was not paying attention, possibly looking at the photographs he had taken (known as chimping). Pelosi states, “The police have more or less identified this person, he’s a 30-year-old guy with a passion for photography. He was outside the barriers, he wasn’t accredited and he injured Daniele with the zoom lens of his camera maybe because he was looking at the pictures he had just shot.” giro-de-italia-1What’s the Solution?

This was an unfortunate accident for all parties involved and in cases like this, finger pointing and opinions abound. Is the photographer to blame for leaning out too far and allegedly not paying attention? A handful of people are wondering why the cyclist was speeding so close to the barriers, and more people are suggesting that they keep the crowds at a further distance away from the cyclists by using a second barrier in future races. Pelosi suggests that public education would be more beneficial than more barriers. We will have to see what adjustments might be made for next year’s race.

As for Colli, he is in recovery and looking to move past this accident, which is another set back in his racing career. In 2010, he endured multiple surgeries to remove a benign tumor in his leg. Alberto Contador was able to ride the day after the crash and retains the lead as they enter Stage 10 on Tuesday.

What do you think? Should Mark be liable for the crash? What action should the race organizers take to ensure the safety of its cyclists and the spectators in the future? Comment below.

[Via DIY Photography/Cycling News]