Bernardo Cruz' finals run comes to an end as rioters run up the course.
As it happened. One Pinkbike viewer captured the broadcast feed.
The finals of the City Downhill World Tour came to an abrupt halt in Bratislava, Slovakia, today when a large group of masked individuals dressed in black stormed the finish area and tore down the end of the course. Sources from the event say the rioters also attacked crowd members and camera crew as police tried to intervene and calm the situation. We have not heard if anyone was seriously injured at this time.
Here is some info from Filip Nagy - "There was a big public demonstration and a march through the city against illegal immigration, which is kind of a number one topic of the European Union in the last few weeks. A small group of about 40 radicals got in a clash with the police near the finish area of the race. In a quick turn of events, during first runs of the finals, they got on course, started running uphill and used the barriers and wooden obstacles of the track to slow down the riot police chasing them. As far as I know, being right in the hotspot at the time, no one was seriously injured, although a lot of timing and broadcasting equipment got thrashed. After running all the way up to the castle and knocking over a few more jumps, the protesters dispersed.
Although most of the spectators went away, the crew immediately began to repair and rebuild the course, getting ready to restart the race. Unfortunately, police closed off the finish area and started collecting evidence from the photographers and bystanders to be used in the prosecution of arrested protesters. As the event is held at a historic site, it only has a limited time window. Unfortunately, the race could not be relaunched in time. It still not known whether and how will the runs from qualifying count towards the overall standings in the City Downhill World Tour.
I've been living in Bratislava all my life, and there is just one overwhelming feeling over the whole incident, shared by hundreds and thousands of spectators – shame. We're very sorry that racers travelling thousands of miles for the event had to experience this shameful, but nonetheless very unique and isolated incident. Although being obviously disgusted and downhearted, Filip Polc, the event organizer and the current overall points leader of CDWT had a few optimistic words for the Slovak media: „I am relieved no one got hurt. I hope our partners won't turn their backs on us and we can do it once again. The weather will surely be nicer too and everything will be twice as good! This time it unfortunately was twice as bad.“
Press Release from City Downhill World Tour Bratislava Slovakia ,23.6.2015
20 PRO Riders from 12 nations traveled to Slovakia to attend the 3rd round of the World Tour in Bratislava on Saturday 20 june.
The training started at 10am and should last until 1pm.
After a break in training due to a strong shower , the organizers fixed the obstacles with carpet and chickenwire against sliding, so the training was extended until 2pm.
Some of the riders had mechanic problems and some got injured, so in the qualification we had 16 riders which started at 3pm. Tomas Slavik had bad luck in the first run smashing his ancle on the longest DATALAN jump ( 15meters long) , so he was out.
Quallification went as scheduled, every rider was going to the finals, so it served as a test timed run.
Before the final run everything was ready to go live on Slovak national TV channel and online on citydownhill.com, where the fans could watch the quallification runs as well.
5pm - the finals started as scheduled. First 2 riders came into the finish , waiting for the next one on the Hot seat. Bernardo Cruz, rider from Brazil started his final run dropping the 5 m high starting ramp. After a crash in qualifying on the same spot as Filip Polc, where they were looking for the maximum speed in the off camber, he was looking very smooth and fast . After the wall ride, speed section and the big jump he start to notice the red flag by entering the long stair section .
In a second he had to stop because of the violent people on the track . The barriers got broken, and a group of 300 people entered the track running up towards the Castle, destroying the track, attacking people ... The attack destroyed live streaming and timing hardware.
After this incident the Slovak police arrested 40 people , they sealed off the lower part of the track started to investigate the crime scene, what took 1hour. The rest of the riders were waiting if the race will continue. The track building staff checked the damages on the track and fixed the broken obstacles and fencing, but during the timing check the organizers realized that is totally broken and the race could not continue .
We can not present any official results of this race , because the qualyfication was not relevant as a race run .
The organizer deeply apologize to all rides who came and to all our fans for this unexpected situation and stressfull times.
We are very sad that our effort to organize a high level international race was destroyed by human madness and we are not sure , that we will be able to organize this race again next year.
The staff of Pinkbike hopes that all of the victims of this incident are now safe and unharmed.