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Bike stolen from charity cyclist who "led" the Tour of Britain

Roger Armstrong - and his Specialized S-Works bike - were featured in national press after last week's ride...

A £5,000 bike has been stolen from a cyclist from Wales who was featured in the national press last Friday after he found himself leading the Tour of Britain by accident.

Roger Armstrong from Mynydd Isa, Flintshire, had been out for a ride to the Horseshoe Pass on Thursday when he realised he was about to be swept up by the peloton which was riding the fourth stage of the race.

The 56-year-old, who had forgotten the race was taking place, was featured in local paper The Leader as well as in the national press, with The Mirror among those to pick up the story – complete with pictures supplied by an agency of him posing with his bike.

But according to The Leader, the Specialized S-Works bicycle was stolen within hours from his garden shed – although the thieves chose not to take another bike that was there.

Mr Armstrong, who has completed Land’s End to John O’Groats and participated in events such as the Dragon Devil to raise money for charity, told the newspaper: “I had it in the shed and came to do some work outside in the garden and it was gone.

“I’ve got a ride next week in Scotland but now I’ve got nothing to ride on. We lock everything up at night so they’ve got to have known it was there,” adding that he had raised more than £10,000 for charity with the bike.

“I wish I’d left my tracker on it,” said Mr Armstrong, who has arthritis and had equipped the bike with an electronic groupset.

“I won’t be able to afford that again. I thought I might have left it in the garage or hoped I’d walked past it and just not noticed.”

He added: “There were two bikes left in the shed so whoever did this knew what they were coming for. I was sat inside crying when I found out, if we’re not insured, I’m stuffed.”

North Wales Police have requested anyone with information to contact them on 101 quoting reference number U137036.

Speaking last week about his ride, which he undertook dressed in Team GB Olympic kit, Mr Armstrong said: “I decided to go out for my usual ride to the Horseshoe but I didn’t realise the Tour of Britain was passing through.

“As I joined a road, I must have joined in between the first lot of police bikes.

“I was soon being passed by some early team cars and as I was heading down a stretch of road people were waving, clapping and taking photos.”

He added: “They soon saw I wasn’t with the tour and I pulled in and a couple of people said they thought I was the breakaway.”

It’s possible that the press spotlight on Mr Armstrong’s ride last week and the pictures of his bike led to him being targeted.

While he is a user of the ride-sharing network Strava, his privacy settings mean that his rides can only be seen by those whom he accepts as followers.

Though there’s no suggestion that the thieves could have used Strava to help identify where he lives, it’s a timely reminder to check your own settings, including ensuring that you use your postcode to set a privacy zone around your residence.

> Police warn cyclists in Wales that thieves are using Strava to target expensive bikes

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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