Environmentalists damage Ineos Grenadiers vehicles in East Flanders

ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest Bus of Team INEOS Grenadiers Landscape during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Ineos Grenadiers team bus at the 2020 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Four people were arrested in Deinze, Belgium on Sunday after vandalizing six of the Ineos Grenadiers team vehicles, according to a report by the Belga news agency.

The vehicles were painted with the phrase "Ineos will fall" at the team's service course in an action described by some as 'ecoterrorism'.

The report did not state what group, if any, the four adult suspects belong to, but suggested they were protesting a new chemical plant that Ineos is building in the port of Antwerp that aims to make durable plastics from recycled feedstock.

The British team, sponsored as part of a marketing effort for Jim Ratcliffe's new SUV brand, has been targeted since Ineos stepped in for Sky as title sponsor in 2019.

Ineos is one of Europe's biggest producers of plastics, and the petrochemical company has had to fend off accusations of 'sportswashing' since being announced as the team's sponsor.

Environmentalist anti-fracking groups threatened to target the team at the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire because of Ineos' drive to bring the damaging shale gas extraction to the United Kingdom.

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