YESTERDAY’S Etape Cymru cycle race was sabotaged after tacks scattered on parts of the course caused punctures to race bikes and a safety motorcycle.
Several cyclists received punctures from the maliciously-placed tacks, which marred the renowned 88-mile endurance event.
About 1,700 riders took part. Police described the act of those responsible as “very disappointing” after the tacks caused problems for competitors in areas of Cock Bank, near Cross Lanes in Wrexham and Pentrecelyn, Ruthin.
A safety marshal’s motorcycle could not continue after falling victim to the tacks, although affected cyclists did resume after carrying out roadside repairs.
Race organiser Nick Rusling said: “Things like this can definitely be dangerous.
“Those responsible were idiotic and thoughtless.
“It happened in the Tour de France last year and ultimately it can cause serious injury.
“It is a shame some people feel the need to do it and completely thoughtless.”
Sgt Mark Jones, of the North Wales Police roads policing unit, tweeted from the event.
He said: “We’ve had reports of tacks being placed on the road on the Etape Cymru route. Several cyclists suffering punctures. Very disappointing.”
He confirmed police would be investigating the incidents.
This is not the first time efforts have been made to disrupt the race.
In 2011 riders were tricked into taking a wrong turn after markers displaying the route were moved.
The Etape Cymru event is Wales’ biggest closed-road cycling race and is renowned as one of the toughest events of its kind in the country.
Yesterday’s race started and finished at the Bangor-On-Dee Racecourse.
The race saw riders hurtle through villages in Wrexham and Denbighshire and tackling gruelling climbs such as the Horseshoe Pass and the Panorama near Llangollen
Mr Rusling estimated the event had brought in about £500,000 into the local economy.
He added: “It is a great event for the region and there has been plenty of great feedback from happy cyclists.”
Not everyone was as happy to see the cyclists however. Councillors in Rhos last night hit out over the lengthy road closures as a result of the event.
Cllr Paul Pemberton told the Leader people had been “kept prisoner in their own homes”, unable to take their cars off their drives.
“Normally the roads are closed for just a few hours but this year they were closed for 10 hours and people are livid,” he said.
“The closures caused lots of inconvenience to people on Bron Wylfa and Smithy Lane.
“Myself and other councillors have been inundated with calls from people who were effectively landlocked.
“A farmer trying to move sheep was prevented from doing so.”