Monday, July 16, 2012

Stupid things people do - road tacks tax belief. But it's not the first time. TdF 2012

Not the first, nor the last. Certainly the most recent and just maybe the most watched. Tacks or other sharp objects thrown on the road to puncture tyres. It happens.

It's a bit like dropping rocks from bridges over freeways, just a little more obvious. And just as stupid. Yet people do that, too. Well, some people. A very small number of people, indeed.

The motivation? An urge to see pain, distress, carnage? A grudge against particular riders, or just any bike rider? The sheer thrill of getting away with it? All of the above?

It's an enduring, if childish and stupid practice. I personally witnessed the great Heffron Park crit circuit sabotage in about the late '80s. Someone was seeding the track with iron filings every week, resulting in punctures during Saturday bike races. In my case it was at least 6 consecutive weeks of punctures. It was more than frustrating, it was dangerous and costly at $90 per silk tubular tyre. The club took to sweeping the track with a magnet before each race, and eventualy the local police tracked the culprit down. The filings came from somewhere, and a local machine shop seemed likely. To my recollection one of the staff lived near Heffron Park and caved in when questioned. I may be wrong but I think he resented the bike racers taking over the crit track every Saturday arvo. Well they did have permission from council, and it's a public park, mate. And much of the 2.1km circuit was built by clubmembers at their own cost, too.

But people sometimes just do the darnedest things.   

Tour De France Organisers Doubtful Of Locating Sabotage Suspects |
Sunday's stage to Foix, however, was a bit more dramatic after the tacks stopped first Andreas Klöden on the approach to the summit of the Mur de Péguère, and then Cadel Evans at the top with flat tyres.

Astana's Robert Kiserlovski, an animator of several stages in the Tour, crashed after the summit of the Mur de Péguère as he swerved to help team leader Janez Brajkovic, who had flatted. Kiserlovski was forced to drop out of the Tour with a suspected collarbone fracture. The incident also sent American Levi Leipheimer to the ground.