A woman was killed in an accident involving a motorcycle on the Tour de France.

A spokesman for the French gendarmerie said the woman was crossing the road when she was hit by a Republican Guardsman on a motorcycle.

The motorcycle then slid and hit two more people.

A gendarmerie officer later said that the woman, in her early 60s, died ‘almost instantly’.

Two other people, a man in his 60s and a 37-year-old woman, were taken to hospital in Mulhouse but were not seriously hurt.

The Republican Guard are the ceremonial unit of the gendarmerie.

The accident happened after the 38.5-km mark, in the town of Wittelsheim, on the route of the 14th stage of the three-week cycle race over 199kms from Colmar to Besancon.

It was the first fatal accident on the Tour since 2002, when a child died after being hit by a car from the publicity caravan.