Arsonist suspected of setting fire to Irish pro cycling team’s bus at race in Spain – Washington Post

The motive remains unclear, but the method, Spanish police said, was obvious.

Early Thursday morning, a suspected arsonist shoved a mattress under an Irish pro cycling team’s bus at the Vuelta a Espana and lit it on fire. The bus, which belonged to Team Aqua Blue Sport and was outfitted specifically for the 21-day tour with showers and other comforts, was completely destroyed.

Police have one suspect in custody, according to the team, which tweeted about the incident Thursday morning. But as of Thursday afternoon, police had not released the suspect’s identity, nor indicated what may have prompted the vandalism.

“We’re devastated by this,” Aqua Blue Sport spokesman Niall O’Connor told Independent.ie, estimating the cost to replace the bus to be between $300,000 to $400,000. “It’s a completely cowardly and callous act.”

No one was hurt in the incident. At the time of the fire, the team and Aqua Sport staff were inside their hotel in Almeria, Spain. Many took to Twitter Thursday morning to express their disbelief.

Aqua Blue Sport owner Rick Delaney had one of the most emotional initial reactions, but changed his tone later in the day — even using a pun to cheer on his squad.

Race organizers ended up lending the team a new bus for the remainder of the tour, so the team made it the start of Stage 12 in time.

With big names like Team Sky and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome in the mix, Aqua Blue Sport is having trouble making headway on the leader board, but on Thursday Aqua Blue Sport rider Peter Koning finished in 11th place in the stage.

Aqua Blue Sport’s Stefan Denifl, meanwhile, remains the best overall classification rider for the team. standing in 67th place, more than 1 hour 25 minutes behind leader Froome.

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