Team Sky ride Tour du Haut Var despite overnight theft of 16 bikes

Team staff dash to training base in Nice to pick up replacement bikes and equipment

by Simon_MacMichael   February 22, 2014  

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Team Sky say they have been able to start the Tour du Haut Var today, despite becoming the latest professional cycling team to fall victim to thieves, with 16 Pinarello bikes stolen from a vehicle outside the team hotel in the South of France overnight.

The team is the latest to suffer a large-scale theft of equipment, with Cannondale Pro Cycling and Lampre-Merida both losing falling victim to break-ins at their premises in recent months, with bikes and components stolen.

The theft from Sky is similar to one suffered by Garmin-Sharp sharp just over 12 months ago when it had to pull out of the Tour Méditerranéen after 16 bikes were taken from a team van, again outside its hotel.

Unlike the American team, Sky were able to take to the start line this lunchtime after managing to obtain replacement bikes, most of them from its training base in Nice, 100km away by road, and one being lent by the Bretagne-Séché Environnement team who were staying at the same hotel in Le Cannet des Maures.

Sky race coach Shaun Stephens told the team’s website: “The thieves took all the bikes, bar two, and we presume they only left those because they’d run out of space in whatever transport they were using. They also took some of the spare training wheels, and various bits of other equipment.

“We’re still able to take part in the race though and seven of our eight riders will be riding team-issue Pinarellos. The two that were left in the van are going to be used and we managed to source five others from our training house in Nice, which is about an hour away from where we’re staying.

“Our Head of Operations, Carsten Jeppesen, made the trip there this morning to pick up whatever he could. We’ve got various training bikes and spare components, so fortunately the show goes on.”

“The hardest thing was actually getting the replacement bikes set up in time for the race start. Our mechanics Alan [Williams] and Igor [Turk] did a tremendous job getting them prepared, and it’s been a great team effort in general.

Speaking of the bike lent to the team by Bretagne-Séché Environnement, which will be ridden by Sebastien Henao in today’s sprint stage and by Chris Sutton tomorrow, he said: “That was a really nice gesture from them and we appreciate it a lot. Things like that really show the spirit of cycling and we can’t thank them enough.”

He added: “Racing so close to Nice, it's almost the best of a bad situation, because if it had been anywhere else in the world we’d have been in real trouble and probably not been able to take part.

“Fortunately we had a lot of spare equipment there so we should be OK to continue without the need for any further replacements.”

11 user comments

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Surely someone is going to start learning lessons from this - that must be the best part of £1m of bikes and kit stolen in 12 months now?

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posted by themartincox [330 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 13:14

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they'll have to start fitting secure racks and locking the bikes inside the vans instead of just relying on the van locks. Some ultrasonic alarms inside to detect movement would also be a "good thing"

posted by Paul_C [167 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 13:18

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Get a dog!

Failing that, leave the posh vinyl wrapped logos off the van with the bikes in it and go stealthy.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 13:41

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In addition to the other reasonable security ideas mentioned, they might as well install some sort of camera-based security system monitoring in and around the vehicles that can send mobile alerts or store info locally if cell jammers are used.

That kind of technology is realitively cheap. Speaking of which, I wonder if Belkin has some sort of advanced mobile security for their vehicles since that's along the lines of the products that their main sponsor actually sells.

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posted by pedalpowerDC [217 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 17:32

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Surely by now the teams have worked out that they're being targeted by what seems to be professional organised gangs?

And they just park their vans up in some back street hotel car park, no security other than the locks on the doors?! Frankly that's fucking insane and an insult to the sponsors who then have to run round sorting out tens of thousands of pounds of extra kit at a moments notice. Ultimately, the consumer ends up footing the bill in increased prices on the shop floor.

Surely it's not too much trouble to fit deadlocks, shackles and so on, lock each bike into the wall of the truck - after all they're fully customised already. Either that or actually employ a security guard. With each bike being worth £10k + it's only 2 or 3 bikes worth to pay a guard for a year! Which is more inconvenient, 10 mins extra to lock and unlock all the bikes each day or hours of scrabbling round sourcing kit when yours all gets nicked?!

posted by crazy-legs [505 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 18:41

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yep what these lot are saying

dont just bung the bikes in a shitty transit

high tech security/dogs/security guard/etc

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 19:34

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Hopefully the bikes will have Sky's postcode written on them in UV marker pen Nerd

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posted by Him Up North [179 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 21:26

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Or the low tech solution of a big ass lock like the rest of us use, these teams really need to get real about security.

posted by drfabulous0 [293 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 21:26

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With the costs of these bikes, it seems folley to not have better security, I hope they have a hell of an insurance policy.

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posted by Miles253 [198 posts]
23rd February 2014 - 5:18

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Blaming the victims for having their bikes stolen.... ohh the irony.

posted by Grubbythumb [34 posts]
23rd February 2014 - 9:09

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Clearly it's all to obvious to work out where these guys are staying and it's all too obvious to work out which van has the gear in it.
These guys need to park a van at the hotel with a load of Gumtree death bikes sat inside and send the other one somewhere completely different. For Haut Var the 100km drive to a secure home base isn't too excessive.
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posted by mtm_01 [90 posts]
24th February 2014 - 11:33

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