Thursday’s Vuelta a España stage was crazy. Alberto Contador attacked. Chris Froome crashed. Tomasz Marczynski won solo from the breakaway. Plus there was this odd incident, caught by broadcast TV near the top of the day’s final categorized climb, Puerto del Torcal.
Why was this spectator diving into the road?
Once the dust cleared after stage 12, Spanish Eurosport journalist Laura Meseguer posted a video of the incident that showed a new angle.
Inexplicably, a police officer is shown shoving the fan into the roadway. This ended up causing the Shimano neutral support moto to crash. This happened moments after Contador passed. The Spaniard was charging up the final section of the climb, striving to gain time in the overall after a dismal performance in stage 3.
The policeman can be rightly criticized for his action. However, it seems the security force has reason to control crowds as much as it can. In a separate incident on stage 12, Katusha-Alpecin’s Maxim Belkov was pushed off his bike near the top of one of the stage’s climbs.
The team later released this statement explaining that the fan suffers from a mental disability:
“Through the Vuelta organizers I have received more details from the Guardia Civil about the incident that occurred yesterday on the Puerto del Torcal when a fan pushed me into the ditch. Apparently the man suffers from a mental disability. For me this is more than enough reason not to undertake any further action against him.
“I am healthy and not injured, but it could have ended worse. Cycling is a very accessible sport. We need to keep it this way. I just hope that this incident will open the eyes of many fans. Please never touch the riders in the race, don’t run alongside us and make sure to always properly supervise anyone under your care.”