SPECTATORS have spoken of their shock at witnessing suspected sabotage at Scotland’s biggest cycling event.

Police are now investigating reports that hundreds of cyclists’ tyres were punctured after metal tacks were strewn deliberately on a road near the village of Whitecross outside Linlithgow.

Witnesses said so many tyres were punctured on the Glasgow to Edinburgh ride that the bike repair teams at Pedal for Scotland could not cope.

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Bystander Máire McCormack said she had been waiting at Linlithgow Cross to cheer on the cyclists when she saw a mother with her daughter who was in tears.

“They said that at Whitecross someone had put tacks on the road and so many people got flat tyres that they ran out of materials to deal with it,” she said.

The National:

“It was really sad as the mother’s tyre was not just punctured but had split in two so she was having to pull out the ride. Her daughter did not want to go without her mum but she was very upset because she was fundraising for a visit to a school in Malawi and thought she would have to pay all her sponsors back. I just felt so bad for her – she was a lovely girl.

“The whole thing was horrible. So many people were unable to finish the ride. It is a great event and brings money into the town, although there is always a bit of controversy about access and people not being able to get about.”

Cyclist Shona Mitchell posted a picture on Twitter showing a tack embedded in her front tyre.

“Fun spoiled,” she said. “Hundreds of us with flat tyres, thanks to sabotage with tacks.”

Another Twitter user, using the name Buttons and Robin, said: “My ride was cut short due to a tack. Some riders had two or three in their tyres. Mechanics (heroes) couldn’t keep up. Was a damn shame not to ride those last 10 miles.”

Almost 8000 riders took part in the event but while many people cheered on the cyclists, others complained about the inconvenience.

“Prisoner in my own house due to this Pedal for Scotland farce – people from all over Central Scotland suffer disruption to their daily lives,” tweeted one householder.

In another tweet, farm contracting business RM and JF Seed accused the ride’s organisers of showing a “staggering level of inconsideration for people that live and work on the route of the course”.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said an investigation was ongoing.

“The matter was reported to police around 1.10pm on Sunday, September 10. A number of bikes were damaged, however no cyclists were injured.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 2396 of September 10.”

Cycling Scotland said the suspected sabotage was “idiocy”.

“An event of this scale inevitably causes inconvenience to some residents and businesses but there is absolutely no excuse for risking serious injury to people through throwing tacks on the event route,” said a spokesperson.

“This idiocy also impacts on the local community, disrupting the event and making it harder to open the roads again. We appreciate the support of people in the affected communities in condemning these reckless acts and helping the police catch those responsible.

“Friends, families and colleagues create the inspiring Pedal for Scotland atmosphere so we would like to thank everyone who stopped and helped their fellow participants and special recognition is due to the Bike Station mechanics for fixing as many punctures as humanly possible in a very short time period.”

During the 2015 event 50 cyclists had their tyres burst by tacks and nails on roads between Limerigg and Avonbridge in Stirlingshire.