Organisers of Sunday’s Etape Caledonia cyclo-sportive have reassured the 4,500 participants of their safety during the event in the light of last year’s sabotage.

The event, run in Highland Perthshire, Scotland, was brought to a standstill last year when a saboteur spread carpet tacks along significant sections of the 81-mile route causing hundreds of riders to puncture. The protest was in reaction to the event’s closed roads, which some local people found unacceptable.

Although no one suffered any physical harm, numerous riders had to abandon the event as they ran out of spare tubes and puncture repair kits.

Local man, Alexander Grosset, 62, was charged by Tayside police for disrupting the event, but the case was dropped in January this year.

Event director Jon Hazan of organisers IMG said in a statement released on Thursday: “IMG would like to reassure cyclists that safety is our primary concern.

“Over the last 12 months we have worked tirelessly with Tayside Police and Perth and Kinross Council to review our security activities in light of last year’s incident, and to ensure they are enhanced and reinforced.”

Earlier this week, the Highland Perthshire Anti Closed Road Events Campaign (ACRE) announced that it would suspend protests against the event for two years, with the intention of organising a cycle event in the area that does not require closed roads.

ACRE spokesman Peter Hounam told Cycling Weekly: “Our only intention is to replace the Etape and we’ll abolish ACRE once our event is up and running. You have to bear in mind it is no longer a trial event, as was intended. It is a highly competitive mass cycle race, something we think is unlawful.”

All 4,500 £56-a-head places in this year’s Etape Caledonia sold out in record time. The event takes place on Sunday, May 16 and is run in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Related links

ACRE devises new strategy in assault on Etape Caledonia

Etape Caledonia sells out

Etape Caledonia saboteur case dropped



  • Malcolm Mason

    I too am riding in the Etape on Sunday and am thoroughly looking forward to it.
    I don’t understand how ACRE can claim there is little benefit to the community; I am staying in accommodation close to Pitlochry, I will be eating out locally on Saturday evening and will be buying newspapers and food before travelling home after the event. If you multiply the amount I will spend by the number of participants and supporters the event attracts, that must have a positive effect on the business community!
    Hope the weather is kind!!

  • J.Williams

    Peter Hounams description of the Etape as a “highly competitive mass cycle race” is clearly inaccurate. It is not a race it is a sportive. I am entered and he can rest assured I, like I expect many others, will not be racing but getting our satisfaction in completing the challenge as best we can in the hope that the effort will be of benefit to others. Is he suggesting that the organisers, Local Authorities and Police are so ignorant of the law that they would give permission and support for unlawful activities?