Bike thieves strike at Houffalize

The racing went on despite the stolen bikes

The racing went on despite the stolen bikes (Image credit: Luke Webber)

Thieves struck Multivan Merida Biking Team last weekend before the World Cup race in Houffalize. Sometime during Friday night, thieves broke into the basement of the team's hotel and took everything they could get hold of. The loss was estimated at about 100,000 euro. Luckily, the team's mechanics were able to come up with replacement bikes before the race.

The stolen bikes included six new Racefullys 96, three Carbon Hardtails FLX and a Carbon Target6. The Racefullys, which are not yet on the market, were limited edition models and specifically tailored to the individual riders.

The World Cup race in Houffalize has a history of stolen bikes, and the Multivan Merida team assumed that professional thieves were at work, since they overcame "extensive security measures". Seven bikes were also stolen from the Swiss national team and also Team GT.

"Unfortunately the teams are left on their own more or less when facing this problem," team manager Andreas Rottler said in a press release. "Especially in Belgium, where this problem has been known for years, neither the organizers nor the police show any reaction."

The team's mechanics managed to pull together another batch of equipment in time for the World Cup race.

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