A cyclist taking part in today’s inaugural Velothon Wales suffered cuts and bruises after crashing at 35 miles per hour when tacks were sprinkled on the road in two locations. Most of the 15,000 participants, however, enjoyed the day, with some tweeting their appreciation of the level of support shown by locals.
It’s the second time a mass participation event in Wales has been targeted in such a fashion within the past two years, with a similar incident happening on the Etape Cymru in September 2013.
In a statement reported by the South Wales Evening Post, event director Andy Taylor commented: "We can confirm that a small amount of tacks were discovered at around 9.30am on isolated sections of the route at Belmont Road in Caerleon and 10.02am at High Street/New Road in Caerphilly.
"Fortunately, no accidents or injuries were caused and the affected areas were cleared within a few minutes."
Despite that statement, at least one cyclist was injured, however - Islington CC member, Sustrans press officer and Cardiff native Alec James, who tweeted a picture of himself after receiving treatment following a crash caused after he ran over a tack.
— Alec James (@AEWJ) June 14, 2015
One participant, Derek Goode, said: “There were around 30 guys that had punctures after tacks were thrown across the road at the top of the hill coming into Caerleon.
"We've raised more than £800 for charity by getting up on a Sunday morning and someone goes and does that.
"It's disgusting and I don't see the point.
"They're just ruining it for the rest of us."
As we reported earlier this month, there had been some local opposition to today’s closed road event which was accompanied by a professional race won by Martin Mortensen of Cult Energy.
Critics included owners of businesses along the route who were worried that trade would be affected, and the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, criticised the event organisers’ communications strategy.
However, a number of people who took part in today’s event tweeted their congratulations to the organisers afterwards with one, Luke Dix, calling it “the best event I have ever done thank you.”
Another, Sam Mason, said: “Wonderful ride, great route and amazing local support. Anthem at the start gave me goosebumps. Be proud.”
And a tweet from Cardiff-based town planning and urban design consultancy read: “15,000 people seeing our region at its very best today @VelothonWales a great ride, but the support along the route was the real showcase.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.