TOUR de France leader Bradley Wiggins believes the sabotage of stage 14 – when tacks on the road caused a litany of punctures in the peloton – showed how vulnerable riders are on the road.
Competitions director of Tour Jean-Francois Pescheux confirmed around 30 riders suffered punctures on the climb of Mur de Peguere on the 191- kilometre route from Limoux to Foix.
Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was among those to suffer flat tyres and the stage was neutralised, initially by Wiggins' Team Sky squad, as the peloton rolled in more than 18 minutes behind stage winner Luis-Leon Sanchez.
Wiggins, who changed bikes as a result of a mechanical problem, said: "What can you do? It's something we can't control. There's nothing stopping more of that sort of stuff happening.
"It's sad. Those are the type of things we have to put up with as cyclists. I think people take that for granted sometimes, just how close they can get to us.
"If that happened in a football stadium, or wherever, you'd be arrested, CCTV.
"But we're out there, quite vulnerable at times, very close to the public on climbs."
One of the many attractions for roadside spectators is their proximity to the peloton, particularly on climbs, but there can be hazards for riders - Wiggins was burnt by a flare on Friday's 12th stage.
Pescheux said: "The nails were mainly thrown on the ground around 200m from the summit.
"It was obviously done on purpose. We have the tacks but we don't know who spread them. They are imbeciles.
"Sky showed they are for fair play. They saw that something had happened and they slowed the peloton."