A number of riders on today’s Wiggle Etape Cymru suffered punctures after saboteurs reportedly laid tacks on the route.
1,700 cyclists took part in the 88 mile course starting and finishing at the Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse in Wrexham.
Half a dozen of the riders, and one of the safety marshall motorcyclists were said to have had punctured tyres, but no-one was hurt in the incident. North Wales Police were called to help remove the nails that had been scattered.
Sergeant Mark Jones, of the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit tweeted: “We’ve had reports of tacks being placed on the road on the Etape Cymru route. Several cyclists suffering punctures. Very disappointing.
“Police are trying to clear as many as possible.
“Approximately six cyclists affected however they’ve managed to repair. We’ve had to lose one of the safety motorcycle marshals though.”
‘Cock Bank’ in Wrexham and near Pentrecelyn, Ruthin were the areas affected.
Nick Rusling, CEO of event organisers Human Race, said: "It's very disappointing. It's also dangerous – it could have caused riders serious injury. It's not a sensible way of showing dissatisfaction towards the event."
He continued: "There are plenty of positives though. The feedback from the cyclists has been amazing; a lot are saying they'll come back. And there has been roughly £500,000 worth of spend in the local area."
It’s not the first time the Etape Cymru has been sabotaged. In 2011 a number of riders got lost after signage was allegedly moved.
As we reported at the time, the organisers responded, saying
Unfortunately many of the route signs that were placed by us were stolen or moved, which sent many riders off course and caused major disruption to the event. The Police have had numerous reports about signs being turned to point in the wrong direction, and also being found discarded in hedges. We are aware that this has happened in other sportives and will be working with the local council to ensure we come up with a secure signing system for 2012.
The 2013 event was enjoyed by the vast majority of riders however.
This year’s event received additional support from the Welsh Assembly as part of its Major Events Strategy. Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, said: "Year on year, the Wiggle Etape Cymru gives us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the spectacular scenery and hospitality of North Wales.”
She continued: “Following the success of this year’s event we hope to be welcoming back previous participants as well as newly inspired entrants as we continue to support Human Race and the event itself next year and beyond.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.