Team Sky started the Tour du Haut Var (February 22-23) today despite having 16 of its Pinarello team bikes stolen by thieves on the eve of the race.
The crooks broke into a Sky team van at its hotel in Trans-en-Provence and removed all but two of the squad’s bikes, along with wheels and other equipment.
Thanks to the loan of a bike from the Bretagne-Seche Environnement team plus Pinarellos brought in from Sky’s training base in nearby Nice, the squad had enough machines to take to the start line.
“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,” Sky coach Shaun Stephens said on the Team Sky website. “They also took some of the spare training wheels, and various bits of other equipment.”
“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.”
Team Sky is taking part in the race with Ian Boswell, Nathan Earle, Josh Edmondson, Sebastián Henao, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio, Gabriel Rasch and Chris Sutton.
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) won the opening stage ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), with Sky’s Earle placing a creditable 10th.