Stickybottle

Rival squads weigh in as French pro team bikes stolen at race

Posted on: February 21st, 2019

 

The team’s bikes were stolen in what sounds like a well-planned raid that was completed before anyone realised what had happened.

 

A number of rival professional cycling teams have come to the aid of Vital Concept-B&B Hotels after its bikes were stolen last night.

Of the 14 road bikes the ProContinental team had at the Ruta del Sol stage race, 12 were stolen overnnight.

Whoever took them appeared to come prepared and was able to break into the team vehicles and get away with so many bikes without being noticed.

The only bit of good news for the squad was that the TT bikes were not taken. It is understood they were being stored elsewhere.

Orbea, which supplies the team’s bike, came to its aid. However, other teams – Fundación Ciclista Euskadi and Euskadi-Murias – have both given Vital Concept-B&B Hotels some of their bikes.

And a local bike shop chain, Ciclos Cabello, also chipped in to ensure all of the riders whose bikes were stolen were able to start the stage today.

When that stage finished in a bunch sprint, Matteo Trentin took victory, with Jonas van Genechten taking 7th for Vital Concept-B&B Hotels at the end of 216.5km in the saddle.

Bike thefts are not unusual at pro races, with several teams hit in recent years by thieves who apparently specifically target races.

Because the team vehicles parked outside hotels confirm where teams are staying, and team bikes are barely used and are valuable, organised thefts can be well planned and net considerable money for those responsible.

In many cases teams opt to store their bikes inside the mechanics’ vans or trucks. But these have often proven easy for criminals to break into.

Two years ago the Team Wiggins Continental outfit had its bikes stolen in an organised robbery in Britain when riding the Velothon pro race.

Bikes and wheels valued at about £60,000 by the team – approximately €75,000 – were taken. They were lifted from a vehicle outside the Cardiff hotel they were staying in.

And in 2015 the leader of Rás Tailteann, Lukas Postlberger, has had his bike stolen overnight just before the last stage.

The incident occurred at the City North Hotel off the M1 in Dublin. Postlberger went on to win the race that day.

 

French sprinter Bryan Coquard is one of the team’s big stars.

 

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