BARCELONA – The Catalan police, Mossos d’Esquadra, have launched a large-scale investigation to find those responsible for placing tacks and nails on the road during the second stage of the Vuelta a España in Barcelona.
The sabotage occurred about a hundred kilometres from the finish line, resulting in multiple flat tires among the participating cyclists. Riders like Vingegaard, Ayuso, Thomas, and Evenepoel faced issues after running over tacks. Moreover, many had to swap their bikes. The second stage was raced between Mataró and Barcelona.
“Thanks to that idiot”
Juan Ayuso was one of the cyclists who spoke out about the incident at the end of the stage. “It was a bit chaotic. Someone laid nails on the road just after a turn. I assume it was intended for us to have an accident. Thanks to that idiot. We wish him the same as he wished for us,” said the UAE Team Emirates cyclist emphatically.
Four people arrested for potential sabotage acts
This scandal follows the arrest of four individuals on Saturday in the Solsonès region of Catalonia, who are suspected of preparing actions against the cycling race. The four were arrested as part of an investigation into potential sabotage against the Vuelta a España. On Monday, August 28th, the race will go through Solsona between Surià and Arinsal.
Vuelta as a ‘colonialist event’
The independence platform Alerta Solidaria announced via X (formerly Twitter) that the four arrested individuals would spend the night in a police station in Barcelona. They have called for a support rally in front of the police building on Monday. According to the platform, the arrests aim to frame the Vuelta as a “colonialist event.” There is concern that the race will expose the “national and social oppression” Catalonia allegedly experiences.
These sabotage acts cast a shadow over one of the most important cycling events of the year and raise questions about the political and social tensions at play in the region. Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the conservative president of the Madrid region, expressed her dissatisfaction on Twitter: “How interesting that the international press focuses on the unrepresentative behaviour of Rubiales, but nobody condemns the sabotage of the cycling tour by the independence supporters, who are negotiating with [Prime Minister] Sánchez. We are living in total manipulation.”