In a bizarre incident, police stopped and arrested a Spanish rider while he was leading Spain’s most prestigious gran fondo, the Quebrantahuesos event, across the Pyrénées on Saturday.
Ángel Vázquez had won the previous edition of the popular event but was yanked from the race 30km from the finish by agents from Spain’s Guardia Civil when he was poised to win yet again.
According to reports in the Spanish media, the presence of Vázquez raised the ire of event organizers. Vázquez had been banned for life in triathlon for doping infractions, and also had previously served a ban as a pro cyclist when he tested positive for EPO in 2010.
The Spanish daily MARCA reported that organizers did not invite Vázquez to compete, but he reportedly earned a spot in the 205km gran fondo by lottery. When event officials saw that he was in position to win yet again as one of a leading pair of riders, police intervened to remove him from the race about 30km from the finish line.
Event officials cited their “right of admission” to rationalize their dramatic step to remove Vázquez, who created a polemic among the Spanish cycling community when he was allowed to race last year and won the elite event.
According to a report on the Spanish wire service EFE, agents tried three times to stop Vázquez during the event. When he was finally detained in the town of Hoz de Jaca, he was later transported to a local station for insulting and threatening officers.
More than 10,000 cyclists participated in the event over the weekend, including former pros Miguel Indurain and Abraham Olano.
Here’s a link to the full MARCA story in Spanish.