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What Was The Tour de France Sign Bandit Really Up To?

Screenshot: NBC

The Tour de France got underway yesterday, and the first stage of the race was marred by two large crashes. The first of these crashes was caused by a fan who clipped German cyclist Tony Martin with a sign that she was attempting to hold up in front of the television cameras. Martin went down, causing an ugly chain reaction of collisions behind him.

Sure, maybe you're laughing at that woman's totally oblivious smile being broadcast live on television as disaster bears down behind her, but the French authorities and race officials are not treating this like any laughing matter. The tour's deputy director, Pierre-Yves Thouault, told reporters that the tour is planning to sue the woman responsible for the crash in an effort to make an example out of her. Meanwhile, police are searching for the woman, who somehow managed to slip away from the scene of the accident unnoticed.

Perhaps this manhunt and threat of legal action seems like overkill given that the woman seems to have made an honest, though admittedly destructive, mistake. But what if her gaffe wasn't so innocent after all? What if her ability to slip away from the scene was a result of training in spycraft? What if something more sinister is going on here???

Let us examine the clues. We'll start with the sign, which is rather curious. It reads "Allez Opi-Omi," which appears to be a combination of both French and German. "Allez" means "go" in French, whereas "Opi" and "Omi" are German terms for "grandpa" and "grandma." Was this woman simply trying to send a cheerful message—"Go grandpa and grandma!"—to her Franco-Prussian elders? It seems much more likely that the sign contains a secret message, which I believe I have decoded by thinking really hard about it. If you rearrange the letters on the sign in a very smart and tactical way, it reads:

Email Zip Loo.

What could this possibly mean? It's so obvious. The woman in the yellow jacket—which we should note is the color of tricksters—was sending a message to one of her criminal associates, instructing them to email a .zip file to someone. It is starting to become clear that this woman is a member of some sort of hacker collective, with operatives all over the world, and so "loo," which is a British slang term for toilet, was included in the message to denote that she was sending the message to an operative in London. There's no telling what's inside the .zip file in question, or who it was sent to, but it's safe to say that there is a good chance its arrival will bring all of Europe to its knees.

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