Stage 1 of the Tour Cycliste Antenne Reunion was neutralised after two riders were injured when an angry spectator dragged barriers across the road on the final lap. The race on the Island of Renuion off the coast of Madagascar was stopped after the crash just metres from the finish line.
A small group of riders were approaching the finish line when the spectator moved the barriers into their path. Brad Potgieter (Raod Cover Cycling Team) was one of the riders who was unable to avoid the barriers and broke his collarbone in the crash. David Rivière of Vendee U was also taken down by the barriers.
According to local news website linfo.re, the incident was a protest against something that had happened earlier in the race. Three laps prior, Enzo Bernard and Jonathan Boyer had been contesting an intermediate sprint when the two collided spectacularly with the barriers. Both riders were injured badly as were several spectators. Bernard was eventually disqualified from the race for dangerous sprinting. However, the rider protested on Twitter that Boyer had become entangled in his handlebars during the sprint.
Linfo.re reported that at least one spectator, a 10-year-old boy, suffered a severed thumb as a result of the crash, while Boyer was left with head trauma and broken ribs.
Following the crash, Boyer's father Jean-Bernard requested that the race be stopped, but organisers decided to continue. In what was described as a 'fit of anger' Boyer's father can be seen grabbing the end of the barriers and moving them across the width of the road.
He was fined 300 euros by the organisation and police took him for questioning, although he was later released. An investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
Race organiser Michel Benard described the incident as an attack on the race but said that it would continue.
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