I read this week that the Cannondale pro cycling team had $100,000 worth of bikes stolen from their base in Italy, including those belonging to star riders Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan. My first thought is: ‘this seems to happen all the time’.
Ok, not all the time perhaps, but it seems that three or four times a season we get reports of one team or other having their entire stable of steeds lifted. It happened around this time last year, when Team Garmin-Sharp awoke ahead of a crucial stage of the Tour Mediterraneen to find their team truck had been cleared overnight of 16 brand spanking Cervelo R5’s, leaving them to abandon the race en masse. The riders had obviously formed quite some emotional attachment with their beautiful bikes, as rider Michael Kreder explained at the time on Twitter: “different teams wanted to give us bikes to race on…but it’s not the same feeling as our own bikes so we will not race today.”
You can almost feel the sense of loss in those 140 characters; who says Twitter is trivial and shallow?
But back to this latest incident with Cannondale, and I suppose if you wanted to pinch a bike with a bit of sell-on value, it may as well be Peter Sagan’s actual racing bike. I imagine someone like Mario Cipollini has probably got a bike somewhere which is gold plated or diamond encrusted or something similar and worth a small fortune, but beyond that, Sagan’s bike would undoubtedly fetch a fair price on e-bay.
But thinking about it, advertising Peter Sagan’s actual racing bike would undoubtedly create a pretty visible evidence trail back to the scene of the crime, so maybe not e-bay…but you get the idea (hell, I’m no bike thief, I don’t know how these things work!)
From the outside looking in, it’s tempting to think that a team like Cannondale – a team based around a bike manufacturer after all – wouldn’t really miss a few bikes…they can just grab a few more from the factory. But $100,000 is $100,000, warehouse full of bikes or not, and I’m led to believe that even when they manage to keep the things safely in their possession, the pro teams are not given to dishing these high spec machines out on a whim, even to the likes of Basso and Sagan.
I’m always surprised to read that riders have two or three bikes a season to use as their race bikes, and at the end of the year they have to give them back. It sounds like a similar deal to the cycle to work scheme: ‘Ok Mr Wiggins, here’s your bike…at the end of the season you can either make the final payment and keep the bike, or hand it back so it remains the sole property of Mr Brailsford’.
In light of this latest instance of mass bike theft, we can probably expect the pro teams to be stepping up their security, so keep you eyes peeled for team issue Cannondale branded bike locks appearing soon in a bike shop near you; and if you also come across a beautiful Cannondale Supersix Evo with race number already attached be careful…
…it might be Sagan’s bike.