Garmin-Sharp pull out of Tour Méditerranéen after overnight theft of 16 bikes

Team's truck broken into as riders slept, 16 Di2 equipped Cervelo R5 bikes stolen

by Simon_MacMichael   February 9, 2013  

Cervelo R5 down tube.jpg

The entire Garmin-Sharp team has pulled out of the Tour Méditerranéen ahead of today’s key stage which finishes at Mont Faron above Toulon, after all 16 of its bikes were stolen from a truck parked outside the team hotel in Aix-en-Provence.

Dan Martin tweeted: "Stolen bikes. 16 brand new di2 equipped Cervelo R5. Still with race numbers. #couldntmakeit up no race today #badstarttotheyr."

Ordinarily, Martin would have been one of the favourites for today’s stage, although he said he had woken up with a head cold and that the theft of the bikes had solved the decision of whether or not to race.

Another Garmin-Sharp rider, Michael Kreder, revealed that rival teams had offered to help out, tweeting: “Different teams want to give us bikes to race on… But it's not the same feeling as our own bikes so we will not race today.”

News of the theft had been broken earlier on Twitter by London-based chiropractor Matt Rabin, who acts as soigneur to the team: While everyone was sleeping, some unscrupulous local scallywags have gone & pilfered ALL THE BIKES #TypiqueDeRegion.”

That tweet had a link to a picture of the team’s near-empty truck, and Rabin added: “Anyone in S France/Spain gets tried to flog a moody team bike, Cervelo's get in touch with the local Gendarme rapido.

“The car was parked up against the back of the truck as is standard, but they MOVED THE CAR & MOVED IT BACK, unbelievable.

He added: You couldn't hope to make €10k from robbing a bank these days, so why not rob a cycling team and nip off with €250k #easynightswork, w******.”

It seems clear that the theft of the bikes was a planned operation rather than an opportunistic one, not least because the thieves would have to have had the means of getting away with their haul, and Rabin tweeted later that two security cameras covering the location of the truck had been “broken.”

The theft of the bikes and withdrawal of Garmin-Sharp is another setback for organisers of this year's Tour Méditerranéen, who had been forced to cancel yesterday's Stage 3 from Marseille to Saint Rémy de Provence due to concerns about guaranteeing security of the route.

It’s by no means the first time thieves have targeted bike races. Lance Armstrong and former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti have both had custom bikes stolen in the past – in Armstrong’s case, a TT bike at the Tour of California – while Team Type 1 was forced to pull out of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali following the theft of all of its Colnago bikes in 2011.

Nor are bicycles the only target. During last year’s Giro d’Italia, photographers Jered Gruber and Veeral Patel both had thousands of pounds worth of kit stolen from a secure parking compound during the team time trial in Verona, but they were able to continue working on the race after organisers RCS Sport stepped in to help them out.

27 user comments

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Jesus... wonder where they gonna sell them.

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [298 posts]
9th February 2013 - 14:01

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koko56 wrote:
Jesus... wonder where they gonna sell them.

Well, they needn't bother posting to the forum, there's already one for sale there, Di2 and everything...

http://road.cc/content/forum/75630-fs-cervelo-r5-vwd-58-ultegra-di2

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7469 posts]
9th February 2013 - 14:16

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Ha, had it been with Di2 would be hilarious. But really, I'm guessing most people would look at bike forums if they are thinking of getting something like that and there is a high chance they might come across it. Might be somewhere less concerned with PCness.

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [298 posts]
9th February 2013 - 14:49

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Oh FFS more changes to my fantasy team Crying Scumbag thieving c@#!s Angry

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posted by cidermart [446 posts]
9th February 2013 - 14:53

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I'm going to point the finger now, a user from this site......Raliegh, this one's on you Devil

But its shocking to say the least, do we know if all the trucks were at the same place? Why only Garmin targeted. Better bikes to be had Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8128 posts]
9th February 2013 - 15:00

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Looks like someone with a fantasy cycling team has ensured that they score well today!

Hamster's picture

posted by Hamster [66 posts]
9th February 2013 - 15:12

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Expect there's plenty of lawyers and dentists in France looking for cheap, new bikes Wink

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [343 posts]
9th February 2013 - 15:40

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Gkam84 wrote:
But its shocking to say the least, do we know if all the trucks were at the same place? Why only Garmin targeted. Better bikes to be had Wink

I don't know the specifics of the hotel, but if you look at eg the TDF road book the teams tend to be dotted around hotels for logistics purposes, maybe two or three at the same location... most hotels simply don't have car parks big enough to accommodate 20-odd team buses, support vehicles, cars etc plus be able to feed 200 riders as well as all the team staff at the same sitting.

Typically, team buses will arrive at the start ahead of the race and be there at the finish afterwards, parked up on car parks, piazzas, even side streets set aside for the purpose (think Tour of Britain when it hits Whitehall) but team hotels themselves more often than not will be some distance from the town centre, often modern hotels on arterial routes.

As for why Garmin, I'm not sure whether there's any way of telling whether they were specifically targeted, or whether it was a case of whichever team happened to be unlucky enough to be staying at that hotel on the specific night in question.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7469 posts]
9th February 2013 - 16:23

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Christ, scumbags.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
9th February 2013 - 17:14

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It seems like most of the time, authorities end up recovering the bikes from this kind of theft because the sale of the loot raises so many eyebrows.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [187 posts]
9th February 2013 - 17:27

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Perhaps teams staying in the same hotel could work together to reduce the risk? Parking trucks tightly back-to back would prevent access via the main, rear doors, and strategically parking against walls or adjacent to team buses might prevent the tea leaves getting in via the smaller side doors.

posted by jarderich [79 posts]
9th February 2013 - 17:28

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As bikes they'll be worthless, but the components are prob not bargain basement. Let's say Eu100 for the wheels, maybe a couple of 100 for the Di bits. Then there's tyres, saddles, brakes and general gizmos. Still not a bad nights work. Cervelo R5's? An environmentally unfriendly bonfire Sad

posted by sidesaddle [63 posts]
9th February 2013 - 18:30

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Ironically you would think, given Garmin's expertise with GPS, that these bikes weren't traceable.

It's incrediable that NOBODY noticed the 16 bikes being nicked. Such a shame for the team as well, not being able to race.

posted by boardmanrider [59 posts]
9th February 2013 - 19:00

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I bet it was Lance Armstrong Devil

posted by Chris Deacon [113 posts]
9th February 2013 - 21:40

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Chris Deacon wrote:
I bet it was Lance Armstrong Devil

He's been too busy praising Vaughters on Twitter!

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
9th February 2013 - 21:57

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Yer, they'll surely split the bikes up.

I guess these guys know what they're doing.

Movistar?

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1725 posts]
9th February 2013 - 22:02

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If anyone does find out where they're selling them, let me know! I've got a soft spot for Cervelo but can't afford full price for one...

The Good Shepherd's picture

posted by The Good Shepherd [54 posts]
9th February 2013 - 23:18

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Bikes and equipment need to be tagged with them nanotubes or some kind of locator chip embedded in the paint or the frame...components as well. F***ing thieves! Pond scum!

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [172 posts]
10th February 2013 - 0:29

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I can understand they don't want to put stuff on the race bikes but surely it's not beyond the wit of man to fit some security.

An infra-red motion sensor INSIDE the truck for example.

It isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened.

Is it about a bicycle ?

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [468 posts]
10th February 2013 - 11:23

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As others have said, the bikes will be split up into their components and sold up which will make it very difficult to trace who/where they are being sold. I would imagine the frames will be stored for a while and then sold on later when the story is largely forgotten.

posted by Tom Amos [201 posts]
10th February 2013 - 14:31

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Next year they'll be named 'Garmin-Sharp-Fagghedaboudit' and the team bus will have an oversized D-Lock rotating on the top...

...  Soyez Realiste-Demandez L'impossible ...

posted by Gregoire500 [138 posts]
12th February 2013 - 18:31

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Whenever I go to a car club event, two people are responsible for staying up all night patrolling the parking lot where the cars are parked. And these aren't even high-dollar cars. You'd think with the stakes being what they are, and all the money involved, a top pro cycling team would do at least that much, but no. Surprise

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
12th February 2013 - 22:55

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abudhabiChris wrote:
I can understand they don't want to put stuff on the race bikes but surely it's not beyond the wit of man to fit some security.

OK, I'm biased, but a chain and ground anchor come to mind. Gosh! We even make some! I do believe there might be other manufacturers, too.

This sort of thing keeps happening, with demo bikes stolen from importers and shops and magazines etc. I have much more sympathy for individual members of the public that have bikes stolen than for people in the trade that should know better. If I was a sponsor of a team that allowed an event to be compromised by such a basic failure to protect critical items, I would be asking stern questions of the team.

The perpetrators are still thieving scumbags, but while the trade sets such a poor example of how to protect valuables, how likely is it that bike theft will reduce overall?

Stephen Briggs
Engineering Director, Pragmasis Ltd
http://www.SecurityForBikes.com 01827 286267

posted by Pragma [6 posts]
13th February 2013 - 9:41

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I've worked in security on & of for years & sadly if some drongo wants to get sumit no matter how well it is covered there no way other than standing with your hands on it that it cant be taken & even then! Need to Get Big Laim Neason after them scrots!!

Alex7

Baldy1alex's picture

posted by Baldy1alex [41 posts]
13th February 2013 - 10:00

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Baldy1alex wrote:
I've worked in security on & of for years & sadly if some drongo wants to get sumit no matter how well it is covered there no way other than standing with your hands on it that it cant be taken & even then! Need to Get Big Laim Neason after them scrots!!

I think that's defeatist, honestly. Do you leave your car unlocked by the same reasoning? It's all a case of using an appropriate deterrent to match the risk, and although no security is 100% infallible, an appropriate deterrent will still stop the vast majority of thieves. Leaving your car unlocked, or your race team bikes unlocked, is rather asking for it IMHO. I'm not condoning theft at all, but the fact that these guys even put the team car back after breaking into the truck suggests they felt they had plenty of time and had not taken any risk at all. It was easy. That hardly sounds like the team had made much effort to protect the bikes. Perhaps if they had secured the bikes properly inside the truck, the scrotes might have taken extra time and made extra noise dealing with it such that they got seen or got scared off. We don't want to give the thieves an easy time.

Stephen Briggs
Engineering Director, Pragmasis Ltd
http://www.SecurityForBikes.com 01827 286267

posted by Pragma [6 posts]
13th February 2013 - 10:35

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parts are easy to shift, but have fun selling those frames, I expect they will be dumped.

posted by Simmo72 [210 posts]
13th February 2013 - 12:22

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The first bike spotted on a Czech second hand bike online shop.Garmin confirmed it´s their bike. Spotted by a cyclist thanks to unusual Di2 internal cable routing on the frame.

posted by londonbrick [23 posts]
13th February 2013 - 21:10

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