Garmin-Sharp pull out of Tour Mediterranean after 16 bikes are stolen
Last Updated: 09/02/13 7:31pm
Garmin-Sharp: no bikes mean exit from the Tour Mediterranean
Garmin-Sharp were forced to withdraw from the Tour Mediterranean after 16 bikes were stolen from their race truck on Friday night.
Mechanics woke up on Saturday morning to discover that their set of Cervelo R5 bikes, 60 sets of wheels, tools and other equipment had been taken.
Garmin-Sharp sport director Johnny Weltz estimated the cost of the burglary at around 250,000 euros but said the bigger blow was to the team.
Andrew Talansky, whose time-trial bike was among the stolen goods, was only a minute off leader Lars Boom and primed to make a move up the field on the race's queen stage that finished at the summit of Mont Faron.
Euskaltel-Euskadi, Ag2r-La Mondiale and FDJ-Big Mat were staying in the same Novotel in Aix-en-Provence but were not targeted.
Other teams and riders offered Garmin a chance to borrow spare bikes but the team decided it was not worth the risk.
Weltz explained: "We did get the offer from other teams, but there is an issue with the pedals. Then you get a sore knee and that can cause other, bigger problems.
"Everyone was so stressed. The riders were super-motivated for today. It was just a huge shock. This was not a small-boy thing. It was a very organized crime.
"It appears that where we had the truck parked was a kind of 'dark spot' on the surveillance cameras. The police are taking it very seriously. The whole truck was cleaned out. This is obviously a job of professional thieves."