Team Synergy Baku is scrambling to gather bikes and equipment, after its team bus and mechanic's truck were robbed and emptied over the weekend. The Continental Azerbaijan-based team was at the Baltic Chain Tour when the disaster struck.
“We woke up to about 7 missed calls each from our D.S. at the Baltic Chain Tour UCI 2.2 , currently in Lithuania,” the team told Cyclingnews. “Thieves broke into our team bus and emptied the whole mechanic truck with all its content. Everything.
"They even took all the energy gels, bars, bottles, spare equipment etc. As we are a 'small' and new team, we pretty much had all our equipment in this truck.”
The team is now desperately searching for supplies, “as we have 5 Azerbaijan riders starting in 5 weeks at the Worlds, and we have nothing left.”
Stefan Rucker, sport director, told Cyclingnews, "All the staff are really gutted, upset even. Because we parked the vehicles in our normal way and then were asked late at night to move by the hotel, it was not possible to park in a cluster. We reluctantly agreed, even the last check of the vehicles was at 2am. We were watched for sure.”
The thieves got away with 10 BH Bikes, all the spare wheels and tools, all energy foods, work shop boxes of gear and brake cables and a hose.
The team was in Panevezys, North Lithuania. Team manager David McQuaid said, “We have a pretty meticulous staff, in particular the staff that were working the Baltic event. But the hotel didn’t allow them to park in their usual format last night and the organization re-assured the mechanic as the hotel was surrounded by 2 metre high walls and electric gates. They got in the side door of the truck, like professionals and over the wall, which is being fingerprinted. It looks like we were the target of a professional gang, as neither of the other vehicles were touched.”
Local police are investigating the incident.
The team tried to carry on with bikes borrowed from other teams. Three of the riders couldn't really find bikes to fit, so that only two riders finished the race.
With the next races coming up next weekend, the team is hoping to get replacements quickly. “We need bikes asap, that’s the long and short of it. The Worlds preparation cannot be derailed because of some thugs,” McQuaid said.