Saboteurs attempted to disrupt the Etape Caledonia for the second time in three years yesterday. Thousands of nails and tacks were discovered by police at 3am strewn along a stretch of the route but were cleared before the race began at 6.45am.
This followed an earlier discovery by organisers on Saturday of drawing pins on a small section of the route, which put them on high alert for further attempts to disrupt the event. A spokesman for Tayside police said: “This attempt to disrupt the event was reckless and completely irresponsible, and it’s fortunate that no injuries were caused.
“Tayside police will work closely with the organisers and the local community to find those responsible and to ensure the safety and security of all persons in the area. Anyone with any information who may have seen persons acting suspiciously along the Strathtay to Weem part of the Etape route or anyone who has any other information should contact Tayside police on 0300 111 2222, or pass information anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
The event, first held in 2007, is the largest closed-road sportive in the UK and attracted around 5,000 riders to Highland Perthshire this year. It’s no stranger to sabotage; in 2009, the event was held up for 90 minutes while thousands of tacks were removed from a five-mile stretch of road. Cyclists were less fortunate that year, with many falling off their bikes and puncturing.