— Luis Valladares (@LValladaresG) August 25, 2015
A roadside spectator appeared to try and ride off on Ben King’s Cannondale team bike after a crash during stage four of the Vuelta a España on Tuesday.
Television cameras captured the moment that the bare-topped, cigarette-smoking fan attempted to swing a leg over King’s Cannondale-Garmin team bike – before King himself intervenes and hurriedly gets on his team radio.
It’s unclear exactly what the spectator is attempting to do, as removing the bike is hardly helping out the stranded King. Perhaps he was straightening the bars? If he was trying to steal it, then he had rather a large number of witnesses. Maybe he just wanted to see what it was like to sit on a pro’s bike? We may never know.
The incident happened in a pinch-point during the stage from Estepona to Vejer de la Frontera, where street furniture caused the peloton to clash momentarily. King was searching for his missing Garmin computer as the spectator grabbed his bike – the computer was never recovered.
“Don’t know if he was “helping” or taking off as I was searching people for my stolen Garmin. What a cluster!” said King via Twitter after the stage.
The 26-year-old American was one of a number of riders caught up in the crash. Thankfully he maintained contact with his machine, and finished the stage three minutes and 58 seconds behind eventual winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Orica-GreenEdge’s Esteban Chaves leads the race overall.