Spanish Guardia Civil forces have arrested a 28-year-old man for attempting to cause the peloton to crash in the final moments of stage seven of the Vuelta a España.
The stage, which took place on Friday and finished in Oliva, was won by TotalEnergies rider Geoffrey Soupe and concluded without incident.
According to the region’s Traffic Group, the branch of the Guardia Civil that covers road safety, one spectator made attempts to block the race route around 6pm local time, with the peloton fast approaching. It is understood that the man stepped into the road, and was detained to ensure the safety of the riders.
In a short statement shared on Saturday, the Guardia Civil wrote: "The Guardia Civil has arrested a 28-year-old man of Spanish nationality for the crime of disobedience when he tried to cause an accident in the final stretch of stage 7, at kilometre 216 of the N-332."
It is unknown why the man was trying to disrupt the race. He is now reportedly facing possible charges of public disorder.
@guardiacivil ha detenido a un hombre de 28 años y nacionalidad española por un delito de desobediencia cuando trataba de provocar un accidente en el tramo final de la etapa 7, a la altura del punto kilométrico 216 de la N-332#LaVuelta23 pic.twitter.com/NdNgHYT6O7September 2, 2023
The incident came days after the national police foiled an attempt to sabotage the Vuelta a España by tipping 400 litres of oil onto the course.
Ahead of stage three, the police uncovered two drums of engine oil that had been placed above a bridge on the race route. It was reported that pro-Catalan independence activists were behind the plot, and four people were subsequently arrested.
The Policía Nacional tweeted a video of the operation at the time, writing: “With this mechanism they intended to sabotage yesterday's stage of La Vuelta. Two drums with 400 litres of liquid that they intended to throw on the road as the peloton passed. Four people arrested red-handed in Lleida."
The detained quartet were provisionally released and ordered to stay at least 500m away from the race.
Last month, members of the Catalan separatist group CDR called for a boycott of this year’s Vuelta a España, demanding “freedom for Catalonia”.
The race began with two stages in Barcelona - the region’s largest city - and on day two, riders complained of punctures caused by thumb tacks in the road.
“Someone decided to throw thumb tacks or nails on the road,” UAE Team Emirates rider Juan Ayuso angrily told Marca after stage two. “I wish that person the same as they wish us. I wish them the very best.”
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