MADRID, Spain – Two small explosives were detonated Wednesday along the Tour de France route in northern Spain before the cyclists raced by, but no one was injured, the Interior Ministry said.
The blasts — 40 minutes apart on bluffs overlooking the road — occurred after a warning call from the Basque separatist group ETA.
The site of the explosions was about a half-mile from the border with France, outside Belagua, a town in the Navarra region.
A caravan of Tour-related publicity vehicles had passed by the site before the blasts, which went off on either side of the road. The race's route was not changed, an official with the Navarra office of the Interior Ministry said on condition of anonymity because of department rules.
About 30 minutes after the second blast, the riders started coming into Belagua, passed through it safely, and eventually rode back into France along the scheduled Tour route.
Officials found plastic food containers containing "a small amount of explosives," the official said. The blasts kicked up some dirt, but caused no injuries, he said.
ETA has staged similar, minor attacks coinciding with the Tour in what Spanish officials have described as attempts to use one of the world's top sporting events to draw attention to the group's drive for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.
The group called a cease-fire in March 2006, but grew frustrated with a lack of government concessions in ensuing peace talks, and set off a huge bomb in a parking area at Madrid's airport on Dec. 30, killing two people. It insisted then that the truce was still in effect, but finally declared it over last month, and Spanish security forces have been on alert ever since.
Meanwhile, French police detained a suspected ETA member Wednesday after a tourist noticed he was behaving suspiciously, police officials said. The man was detained in the southwestern French town of Lannemezan after a tourist alerted police that he was looking into car windows, officials said.