16 Jul 2012

Tacks thrown on Tour de France route

4:08 pm on 16 July 2012

The 14th stage of the Tour de France was marred by a series of punctures, caused by tacks thrown on to the road, on the final climb of the day.

Race leader Bradley Wiggins temporarily called a halt to competitive racing after defending champion Cadel Evans was among those to suffer a puncture at the summit of the Mur de Peguere, about 39km from the finish of the stage.

Wiggins, 32, who still leads by more than two minutes, slowed the pace to allow Evans to return to the group.

''I thought it was the honourable thing to do," he said. ''Nobody wants to benefit from someone else's misfortune.''

The BBC reports the incident was unprecedented.

''It was obviously done on purpose,'' says race official Jean-Francois Pescheux. ''We have the tacks but we don't know who spread them. They are imbeciles.''

Wiggins was hit by a flare on Saturday.

The stage was won by Luis Leon Sanchez of Spain.