Bianchi helps House

By Rod Morris rider Kristian House has had his bike stolen, hindering preparations for this Saturday's Melbourne to Warrnambool cycling classic. House, fresh from riding in last week's Herald Sun Tour, had his $4000 Litespeed racing bike stolen from the secured area at Melbourne's Mercure Hotel following the Lygon St criterium that concluded the one-week stage race.

Major sponsor of the Melbourne to Warrnambool race, Bianchi Bicycles came to the aid of House, with the Australian distributor, BikeSportz Imports, glad to help by donating a Bianchi bicycle to the Englishman. Company director David Cramer presented House with his new rig in Melbourne ahead of the race, saying that "As the major sponsor of the race, we wouldn't like to see one of the leading riders miss out because of the callous actions of another individual,"

The thief was captured on security camera, but at this stage police have been unable to clearly identify him. "He (the thief) was dressed like a bike rider - complete with riding shoes - and he went straight to my bike, so he knew what he was looking for," House said. The frame was blue and black with yellow decals, including House's individual name. "The bike also had some fairly unique SRM cranks which were were worn in some places, so I would recognise them if I saw them again, although I'm tipping the bike has either been stripped down for spare parts or had a complete makeover by now," he said.

House is now ready to start in this year's edition of the Melbourne to Warrnambool, which is the oldest continuous bike race in Australia - the second oldest in the world - and at 299 kilometres, is considered the longest distanced one-day cycling race in the world. "I've heard a lot about the Melbourne to Warrnambool but have never had the chance to race in it, so for that alone I am looking forward to this weekend," House said.

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