Maxim Belkov (Katusha-Alpecin) has said that he will take no further action against the fan that pushed him into a ditch during stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, but issued a plea to fans to take care when spectating at bike races.
Belkov was riding up the final climb of Puerto del Torcal when a fan ran from the opposite side of the road and pushed him, forcing him over the barriers and into a ditch. It later became apparent that the individual involved has a form of mental disability and, for this reason, the rider chose not to take further action against him.
"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," Belkov's statement read. "Apparently the man suffers from a mental disability. For me, this is more than enough reason not to undertake any further action against him."
Belkov's incident was not the only one during stage 12. Earlier on the same climb a fan found himself in the path of a neutral service motorbike after appearing to be shoved by a member of the Guarda Civil. The fan had been running alongside Alberto Contador when the officer appeared to push him in order to stop his action. However, it resulted in the fan falling and landing in front of the motorbike that was following Contador.
Fan related incidents are nothing new in cycling, and Andre Greipel appealed for respect after he was hit by fans during a stage of the Tour de France this July. In his statement Belkov asked fans not to touch or run alongside riders during a race.
"I am healthy and not injured, but it could have ended worse," he said. "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."
Belkov took a minute or so to regain his composure but was soon on his way and finished stage 12 in a group just over 15 minutes behind the stage winner, Thomas Marczynski, and will be able to continue the Vuelta.
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