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Sabotage': Roughly Thirty Tour de France Competitors Suffer Flat Tires After Tacks Thrown Onto Course

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"It's a criminal act. I think you're taking people's lives in your hands..."

(The Blaze/AP) -- Tacks on the road have caused flat tires for about 30 riders during the 14th stage of the Tour de France, according to reports.  Race officials are asking police to investigate.

Race director Jean-Francois Pecheux commended Sky Team for encouraging the pack to not speed ahead or take advantage of the disturbance.  Among those affected was defending champion Cadel Evans.

"Sky immediately stopped the pack so that everyone could finish in the best conditions," Pescheux explained. "Sky were very sporting; they slowed things down and everything returned to order."

Pecheux also said on French TV that the search for the culprit would be difficult because thousands of fans were on the roadside at the time.

The Associated Press explains:

Though race organizers and local officials roll out street sweepers ahead of the peloton to clear the roads of debris, the tack incident underscores the difficulty of securing the Tour route — this year 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) long — where tens of thousands of fans line the course every day.

From time to time, stray dogs or photograph-snapping fans get hit by speeding riders on the route. On Friday, Wiggins was hit on the arm and received minor burns by a flare being waved by a spectator.

Stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez and several other breakaway riders were many minutes ahead of the pack. They appeared to be spared what some are describing as "sabotage" during the 119-mile stage between Limoux and Foix.

BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz said Evans got three flats because of the tacks, and French TV pictures showed shiny, metal tacks imbedded in a tire of a motorcycle in a convoy that accompanies riders.

"It's a criminal act. I think you're taking people's lives in your hands … and creating a very dangerous situation," he declared.

Cadel Evans seemingly took the disturbance more in stride, commenting: "That's the way things go in life, karma hopefully comes around."

Of the tacks, he remarked: "Couldn't see them on the road … this has happened to me before — two times in Spain...That's why I don't race in Spain very often."

"Sorry for the good Spanish people and my Spanish friends and people in Spain who support me, but there's a few people that just take things too far," he said with what appeared to be good humor.

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