Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Vuelta was only completed after the finishing area had been extensivel
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The organisers of the Vuelta only decided to complete Tuesday’s fourth stage of the race to Argamasilla de Alba after numerous checks had been made by Spanish police after a warning was given that an explosive device had been planted somewhere close to the finish of the stage. Following extensive checks, Vuelta race director Ignacio Ayuso decided to continue to the scheduled finish, although riders were not told of the warning until the stage had been completed.
Although Spanish police would make no comment on who might be responsible for giving the warning, it was revealed that the telephoned message had been made to the DYA roadside assistance group in the Basque Country. The Basque terrorist group ETA has made similar warnings to the same organisation in the past.
“The Ministry of the Interior informed us once the race was under way that a warning had been received of a bomb being placed close to the stage finish,” Ayuso explained. “After evaluating all of the data received, the race organisation, in conjunction with the Government and the Guardia Civil, took the decision that the race should continue. We reached the finish without any further news to report.”
A police helicopter flew over the race yesterday because of concerns that the explosive device might not be a bomb placed at the roadside but a mortar or some other type of attack.
The Vuelta has stayed clear of attacks by ETA by avoiding the Basque Country in recent seasons. When the 1992 Tour de France started in Basque Country, a number of media cars were firebombed by the separatist organisation.