By Jonny Long
Brussels police have recovered the stolen Tour de France Qhubeka bike following a seven-day search.
The charity bike went missing the night after stage one of the Grand Départ in the Belgian capital, thought to be between the hours of 11pm and 4am, with police possessing CCTV footage of the theft.
The yellow bike was the most valuable of a set matching each of the distinctive coloured jerseys worn by the leaders of the various classifications during the race.
The bikes are set to be auctioned off in Paris on the final day of the Tour with the money raised going towards Qhubeka, a non-profit that has so far donated 75,000 bikes to people in need.
However, the Tour has announced the bike has been recovered, thanks to Brussels police and citizens who got involved in the search, and will now join the others at the auction in Paris.
The campaign to retrieve the stolen bike was backed by a number of famous cyclists, who got involved with the social media campaign to raise awareness and reach people who may know of its whereabouts.
Eddy Merckx, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) and Cadel Evans all posed for pictures holding up a sign reading #GiveItBack, pleading for the thief to right their wrong.
Qhubeka had been working on flying a replacement bike in from South Africa, where the charity is based, but will now be able to auction off the original.
Last year, the Tour de France donated 176 bikes to the charity, one for every rider that started the race.
At the Spanish national championships earlier this month, police recovered a stolen Movistar bike worth €14,000 after it was stolen from the rider's hotel.
The bike had been left outside the rider's room in the corridor, with police praising the quick collaboration from the public in identifying the culprits, helping to return the bike to its owner.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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