Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

'Sabotage' cycle race, Etape Caledonia, sells out

Halted cyclists
The race was halted for 90 minutes last year while the road was cleared

This year's Etape Caledonia cycling event has sold out, organisers have confirmed.

More than 4,500 cyclists have signed up for the 2010 Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia event, which is a record entry and about 50% up on 2009.

Protesters tried to sabotage the race last year by spreading carpet tacks on the road and causing hundreds of cyclists to suffer punctures.

Increased security along the route is expected this year.

Those taking part are expected to raise about £430,000 for the main charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jo Dytch, event organiser, said: "These results are extremely exciting.

"The demand for places this year has been strong with more than double the number of cyclists fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support than last year.

"It's going to be a very busy weekend in Highland Perthshire. With almost 5,000 cyclists coming into the area, many accompanied by friends and families, this is a welcome boost to the local economy."

Vocal critics

Prosecutors recently dropped charges against solicitor Alexander Grosset over last year's incident.

Mr Grosset - one of a number of vocal critics of the event - was arrested by police and had his home in Highland Perthshire searched while he was held in custody.

The 63-year-old church elder was alleged to have shown complete disregard for the safety of participants, as well as pedestrians who were watching the race.

However, a Crown Office spokesman subsequently said: "After full and careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances by Crown counsel, it was decided there should be no further proceedings."

The race, which has an 81-mile course, is the largest closed road cycling event in the UK.

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