Lotto-Soudal rider's Ridley Helium SL was taken from bike manufacturer's stand at trade show...

A custom Ridley Helium SL bike with a polka dot paintjob that was ridden by Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt when he led the mountains classification at the Tour de France last month has been stolen from the bike manufacturer’s stand at the Eurobike trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

> Ridley gives Thomas De Gendt’s bike the polka-dot treatment

The theft took place yesterday, with Ridley founder and CEO Jochim Aerts, quoted on Cycling.be, saying: “We were so proud we could show Thomas’s bike on our stand, then this happened.”

De Gendt, in Spain riding the Vuelta, said: "It's really unfortunate that this has happened. The bike means a lot to me, it was a kind of symbol of my outstanding Tour de France. I really hope it shows up.”

Ridley tweeted a picture of the bike as it was on the stand prior to the theft, with the thieves breaking the lock to make off with it.

The rider himself retweeted Ridley’s picture asking for information and pointing out that the bike is “easy to spot.” Well, quite.

De Gendt had two stints in the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France - from Stages 5 to 7, then for a further three days after winning the shortened Stage 12 on Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day.

That stage is best remembered for Chris Froome’s jog up the mountain after his bike was broken in a crash when motorbikes ahead of the group he was in were unable to get through the crush of spectators.

Thefts of bikes do unfortunately happen at trade shows from time to time, including Eurobike – in 2009, we reported how a €10,000 Van Nicholas Astraeus had been stolen before the doors had even opened to the event.

> Van Nicholas Astraeus stolen at Eurobike

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.