Teams, riders and even members of the media came together in Luxembourg on Saturday after an amateur team had all their bikes stolen at the Festival Elsy Jacobs. The Maaslandster International team's bikes were locked in the back of their van overnight at the team hotel when the incident happened in the town of Marienthal.
The team is one of the amateur outfits riding in the 2.1 ranked event in Luxembourg and all the bikes belong to the riders, not the team. However, the parking area before the start of Saturday's 97.7km stage in Steinfort was a hive of activity, with individuals and teams offering to help out.
Race commentator José Been was one of those who gave her bikes: "I brought my bike so I could ride in the mornings before the stage, but when I heard about the team's plight I thought I had to help out," she said.
One of the riders was former British Junior road champion Lauren Murphy, who joined the team just three weeks ago.
"It was a bit of a nightmare this morning," she told Cycling Weekly. "They had broken in and taken every single bike, and all the good wheels we had in there had gone as well, so we are left with just the training wheels. My rollers are still there which I was thankful for.
"It's been brilliant, everyone has tried to muck in and help out because I think everyone realised that if they were in that position they would want someone to help them."
It's been tough few weeks for Murphy after crashes saw her injure both wrists and break two bike frames. She rode Friday's 2.8km prologue on her alloy training bike, however her eyes lit up when Movistar offered her use of one of their Campagnolo Super Record EPS-equipped Canyon Ultimates.
"It's better than my bike, so it's fair to say I am happy that they have offered to help us and lend us bikes," she laughed. "All the bikes are better than the bikes we brought here ourselves, but I'll need a good warm up to get to know the bike a bit more."
While the loss of the bikes is a disaster for the team and their riders, all six started on borrowed bikes and only one failed to finish the stage, which was won by Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans).
While Murphy managed to finish 73rd, 1-07 behind the winner, her team mate, Japanese champion Eri Yonamine, guesting with from pro outfit Wiggle-High5, enlivened the race riding off the front on a borrowed Pinarello Dogma, before creating the day's main break.
A full list of bikes is not yet available, however, is thought to amount to tens of thousands of Euros. If you believe you have been offered one of them please contact Luxembourg police or the team on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/maaslandsterladies.
The team has also set up a GoFundMe page, aiming to raise $50,000 to help the team's riders replace their stolen bikes.
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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