THE opening stage of the inaugural cycling Tour of the South West on Saturday was marred by punctures caused by tacks thrown onto the course.
About 30 riders suffered deflated tyres at several points along the Wangoom cycling route.
Warrnambool City Council councillor John Harris said 15 A grade , eight B grade and seven C grade competitors received flat tyres.
"It's a low-life act," Cr Harris said.
"For someone to deliberately do this is an absolute disgrace.
"Warrnambool and region is being showcased to cyclists from South Australia and across Victoria and you have to put up with this sort of stupid behaviour."
Click on the photo to view pictures from the event
Cr Harris said putting tacks on the road had the potential to cause a serious accident.
"The wheels of these bikes are both a lot of money and some of them have been ruined," he said.
Council media and marketing manager Kim Sweetnam said the act of sabotage was extremely disappointing. "A lot of time and effort went into staging an event to benefit the cycling fraternity," Ms Sweetnam said.
"It was a great event and fortunately it was able to go on despite what has happened."
Council events and promotion co-ordinator Rebecca Elmes said the inaugural tour attracted 190 riders.
"It's been absolutely brilliant, a fantastic weekend," Ms Elmes said yesterday. "We've had some really positive feedback. It's been a great tour and definitely gives us thing to build on," she said.
"I would like to thank all the Wangoom residents for their co-operation.
"We had over 100 people attend the tour dinner and every part of the tour has been well supported."
Ms Elmes said the tour had the potential to join the Tour of Bright as the equal biggest event on the Victorian winter cycling calendar.
Warrnambool-based cycling events now bookend the Victorian winter cycling calendar, opening with the Tour of the South West in April and closing with the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic in October.