Police are looking to identify two men who attempted to block last Sunday’s Tour o’ the Borders sportive and who are reported to have lashed out at competitors with sticks.
Organisers said the incident took place after around 26km, a few hundred metres south of the junction of the A701 and B712.
“I was in the lead group and met the irate locals blocking the road,” said one participant. “We were all respectful initially as we assumed there were livestock in the road and stopped. I witnessed them hitting riders and saying ‘stick it in their spokes’ which I would regard as deliberately dangerous behaviour.”
Another said: “I was in the lead group and one of the first to cross them. The men seemed to appear from the side of the road after the lead car went through. The two men, each with two sticks, deliberated tried to block the road completely and caused the whole group of riders to suddenly slow down. When we attempted to cross them we were hit with sticks as they would not move.”
The Scotsman has suggested that the two men may have been farmers as some have previously expressed concerns at not being able to move between their fields at harvest time due to cycling events. However, on Facebook organisers were keen to emphasise that, “there are quite a few farmers who take part and others who support the event in various different ways.”
Event director Neil Dalgleish commented: “Tour o’ the Borders was a fantastic success this year, and for once the weather was kind too. The riders had a fabulous time, and we’ve had countless thanks for the organisation, route quality, scenery and for all the friendly marshals and volunteers.
“Our cycling visitors know the Borders is a place they are welcome and where the quality of the cycling and events is second to none, so I think a truly special day was marred by some thugs, some idiots.
“Their behaviour is disgusting, and they are a disgrace to the whole of the Borders, let alone their own local communities. We have to make it clear that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable. It could have caused serious injuries or worse.
“If anyone knows who was responsible please get in touch with us or, better, the police directly. We really need to find out who was responsible and make sure this kind of thing never happens again.
“Cycle tourism is one of very few sectors bringing new jobs and economic growth to this region, and we can’t let that good news story be threatened by a few numbskulls who think having a road closed for a few hours once a year is justification for assault and violence. That’s just not what the Borders is all about.”