BARCELONA – Four individuals were arrested over the weekend for allegedly plotting to sabotage the Vuelta a España cycling race. However, they were subsequently released on Monday under restrictive conditions.
The Policia Nacional report that the suspects intended to spill 400 litres of a substance similar to motor oil on the race course. Furthermore, the stage in question ran from Súria in Barcelona to Arinsal in Andorra on Monday.
Arrests in Solsonès region
The suspects were apprehended in a wooded area within the Solsonès region while setting up a complex mechanism comprising an electro valve and a timer. Moreover ,the apparatus was discreetly hidden amidst roadside vegetation.
Extensive security measures by suspects
Under the umbrella of Operation ‘Splendor’, authorities noted the suspects had taken elaborate precautions to avoid detection. Also, they did not have cell phones with them and used circuitous, hard-to-follow routes to reach their setup location.
Mechanism details revealed
Police have released images of the device, which consisted of two 200-litre containers, a solenoid valve, and a timer connected to a concealed hose reaching the road. This was purportedly the work of a group of Catalan separatists.
Furthermore, the substance, resembling engine oil, is currently undergoing analysis. While released, the suspects face charges including criminal group membership, public disorder, traffic violations, and environmental crimes. Consequently, a judge has mandated that the suspects maintain a minimum distance of 500 metres from any Vuelta stages.
Multiple aspects of the case, including potential affiliation with a criminal organisation and environmental crimes, remain under investigation.
However, this isn’t the first sabotage attempt against the Vuelta. On Saturday, four other individuals were arrested for similar suspicions. Chaos erupted during Sunday’s second stage when nails and drawing pins were scattered on the road, causing multiple flat tires among the cyclists. Fortunately, there were no injuries.