Cycling fans already know that the Vuelta a Espana (aka the Tour of Spain) is currently taking place in that country. The race is the third, and final, grand tour of the cycling season, although its tough course and difficult climbs leave it second to none in terms of challenge. It is also incredibly fun for fans to watch, in part because it offers combative cycling at its finest. But earlier in the week it brought a different kind of excitement, aiding in a drug bust that ended up shutting down not one, but two rooftop marijuana farms in the city of Igualada.
Stage 7 of the race ended in Igualada and was won by Nikias Arndt of Team Sunweb. Along the way however, the peloton passed through Lleida en route to the finish line. As is traditional in cycling’s big events, television helicopters followed along overhead, broadcasting footage of the race as it unfolded to fans across the globe. But as the riders neared the end of the tough stage, one of those helicopters passed over an apartment building where the camera caught the distinctive image of a garden growing on the roof. That garden ended up being made up of more than 40 marijuana plants when it was raided by police a few days later.
In Spain, the personal use of marijuana is not illegal and individuals can grow a small amount for their own purposes. What is in question here is how much can a person grow and still have it be deemed for “personal use?” 40 plants seems like a commercial operation by pretty much any measure however and police report that the owner had already vacated the premises before they arrived. The search to find the individual is ongoing.
For those wondering about the Vuelta rather than the police raid, the race is now through its 12 of 21 stages, with Slovenian rider Primož Roglic of Team Jumbo-Visma currently in the lead. He holds a 1 minute, 52 second advantage over second place rider Alejandro Valverde of Spain, with Miguel Angel Lopez in third place another 19 seconds back. Those gaps are fairly significant and will be tough to overcome, but with a number of tough mountain stages to go, the top spot on the podium is hardly assured.
Follow along at the official Vuelta a Espana website.
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