A threat by Corsican separatists to try and block the passage of today’s Stage 3 of the Tour de France has been withdrawn following the release from police custody of two men who had been in police custody for spraying slogans on the road ahead of Saturday’s opening stage.
Antone Simoni and Hugo Peter were among four people detained at the weekend for spraying on the road surface “a slogan of a nationalist nature” – in this case, the slogan of the banned guerrilla group, the FLNC (Corsican National Liberation Front).
A message posted yesterday on the Facebook page of the group Corsica Libera et Sulidarità said that unless the pair were freed by the end of Sunday, “the Tour de France will not pass on Monday” - threatening disruption to roday's stage, whoch passes along the island's spectacular east coast (pictured).
However, a post on the group’s Twitter feed this morning said that the two had been released, adding, “The Tour de France can therefore continue.”
Like other high profile sporting events, the Tour regularly attracts its share of protests – campaigners against same-sex marriage being one example this year – and the race’s absence from Corsica until this year has in part been attributed to the perceived threat of action by separatists.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.