Belkov says Vuelta assailant has a mental disability

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Commenting on the spectator who assaulted him during Thursday’s 12th stage of the Vuelta a España, Katusha-Alpecin rider Maxim Belkov has confirmed suggestions that the individual may not have fully understood his actions.

“Through the Vuelta organizers I have received more details from the Guardia Civil about the incident that occurred yesterday on the Puerto del Torcal when a fan pushed me into the ditch,” he said on Friday morning. “Apparently the man suffers from a mental disability. For me this is more than enough reason not to undertake any further action against him.”

The Russian was riding up the day’s final climb when the individual in question rushed at him from the right-hand side of the road. Without warning, he shoved Belkov hard and sent him over a roadside sponsorship banner. He ended up in the ditch, while the spectator was quickly grabbed by a Spanish policeman.

Belkov was helped back on his bike and finished 94th on the stage, over 15 minutes back.

“I am healthy and not injured, but it could have ended worse,” he said in a Katusha statement on Friday. “Cycling is a very accessible sport. We need to keep it this way. I just hope that this incident will open the eyes of many fans.

“Please never touch the riders in the race, don’t run alongside us and make sure to always properly supervise anyone under your care.”

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