Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 15:14 UK

Man charged over bike race chaos

Halted cyclists
The race was halted while the road was cleared. Pic: Richard Thomas

A community council chairman has appeared in court in connection with the disruption of a major cycling event in Perthshire at the weekend.

Alex Grosset, 62, from Bridge of Gaur, Pitlochry, has been charged with culpably and recklessly placing carpet tacks on the road.

Hundreds of cyclists suffered punctures during the Etape Caledonia on Sunday.

Mr Grosset, who appeared in private at Perth Sheriff Court, made no plea and has been released on bail.

Race halted

He has been a chairman of the Rannoch and Tummel Community Council and is also a church elder.

The single charge against him alleges that between 16 and 17 May he acted in a way which showed complete disregard for the safety of competitors and pedestrians.

He is alleged to have culpably and recklessly placed tacks on the road between Kinloch Rannoch and Tomphubil, and the B846 between Tomphubil and Aberfeldy.

The charge states that the road was being used for a closed road cycle event and that Mr Grosset's actions caused damage to bicycles, emergency service vehicles and other associated vehicles.

The Etape Caledonia is the only cycle race in the UK where all the roads travelled on are closed to other traffic and the disruption had angered some local people.

About 3,500 cyclists took part in the event, which started and ended at Pitlochry, on Sunday.

However, the race was halted for about 1hr 30mins after it became clear that cyclists were suffering punctures because there were tacks on the road.

Organisers of the event, which raised more that £200,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, have pledged to run the race next year despite the incident.

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