The Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia cyclo-sportive in Scotland on Sunday (May 15) was again the victim of saboteurs, with tacks, drawing pins, staples and screws spread across the roads.

It’s the second time that the 81-mile Perthshire event has been sabotaged. In 2009, hundreds of cyclists suffered punctures as a result of tacks being spread along 20 kilometres of the route causing organisers to stop the event for an hour and a half to clear the roads.

This year, the saboteur’s efforts failed to halt the event. Organisers had spotted the items strewn across the road in advance of the event starting and cleared up before the riders reached the affected areas.

It is thought that the saboteur or saboteurs are disgruntled locals who do not wish the local road network to be closed to traffic for the annual cycling event.

Pressure group Anti-Closed Road Events (ACRE) are of the view that the event is illegal and are launching a campaign to get it stopped permanently, although it condemned Sunday’s sabotage action.

A total of 5,000 cyclists took part in this year’s sell-out event, with all proceeds going to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

Tayside police are appealing for witnesses or any information relating to the sabotage of the 2011 Etape Caledonia. They can be contacted on 0300 111 2222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A man was arrested in connection with the 2009 sabotage but charges were later dropped. Last year, Tayside police appointed a dedicated liaison officer for the event to address the concerns of local residents.

Related links
May 2009: Etape Caledonia stopped due to sabotage
Alleged Caledonia tack saboteur is council chairman
Etape Caledonia saboteur case dropped
Etape Caledonia gets dedicated police officer

  • Paul

    What saddens me the most is this is a charity event and it appears that the saboteurs seem to put their own selfish views in front of what is a good cause.
    Charities around the world receive huge donations through events like this and even though ACRE said they opposed this action they are fundamentally against events that closes roads. So in there eyes maybe something like the London marathon could be quick jog around regents park or maybe if the Tour visited Britain again it could use some of the cycle paths !
    They must be a cheerful bunch ?

  • Oliver Carter

    This is one of the many reasons I now live in Spain. Here they shut the roads for everything and everyone is happy.

  • Michael

    I rode the 2009 event and was delighted to raise money for Macmillan. Swore I’d never go back after puncturing and then seeing the culprit getting away with it. Been having second thoughts until I heard it happened again so I’ll never be back. Shame as the area and ride was fantastic but I’m not going anywhere near a road where some moron deliberately sets out to make me crash. Perhaps if you’d been with me in 2009 helping a poor injured woman who came off at speed because of your actions you’d think twice. I’ll take my bike – and money – where it’s welcome in the future. You can share the road with the tumbleweed at your leisure.

  • Neil

    This is really unfortunate. I fear the saboteurs may win eventually.
    I went to the 2009 event. A 6hour drive each way, hotels, meals, fuel etc (no to mention the high entry cost!) meant it was not a cheap weekend. The event was, for me, ruined and I basically decided that unfortunatley I would not return again to the event, with the htreat of vandalism hanging over an event which for me, was very expensive to attend and involved a lot of time.
    I know we shouldnt just give in to these things easily, and i would have liked to support it, but personally i couldnt justify it.
    Now that its happened again, I just wonder what future lies ahead for this event.
    Such a shame, as the opportunity to ride on closed roads is such a luxury. And the vast majority of locals appeared to give the event and riders, lots of support.

  • dave

    Why are we surprised after the charges against the Council Chairman were dropped in 2009, it sent a clear message to these activists the the risk of proceution was minimal.
    It also shows the intelligence of those involved when the event is to raise money for Cancer.
    Another fact could be that the mainstream press constantly refer to it as a race not a sportive and Joe Public does not know the difference.
    It would be interesting to know how many of those who oppose this event are incomers to the area, just think of why the IOM week was stopped due to similar feelings of people and then look at the % of non Manx residents now.

  • Fred

    No surprise it happened again. When the last guy was let off it sent out the message that there’s no reason not to do something like this. Might as well give it a go if there’s no consequences for the perpetrators, nothing to lose!

  • Paul

    What a brainless thing to do.
    I rode the event and apart from the weather it was great, no road problems at all.
    This sort of action could have resulted in riders crashing and terrible injuries, but moreover the event raised over 1 million for a charity that I’m sure we’d all be glad was there should we need it.
    I can see that closed roads could be disrupting but come on, for a few hours, one day out of the year?
    These people need to get a life.