Thieves have struck at the Tour of Denmark, leaving local Continental team Giant-Castelli scrambling for bikes ahead of the stage 4 time trial. The squad had all 10 of their time trial bikes stolen from the team truck that was parked outside their hotel overnight, leaving them with just a few wheels.
The theft was discovered at 8:30 am when the team went to the trucks to prepare the bikes for the time trial. Other various pieces of equipment were also stolen overnight.
"It's a nightmare to wake up to. We always focus on night-safe cars, but this time the thieves were smarter," the team wrote in a statement on Facebook.
According to a report on TV2.dk, the value of the equipment stolen amounted to around 1,000,000 Danish Krone (120,000 GBP). Despite having none of their own bikes, the Giant-Castelli team is determined to continue. They have received help from other teams with Sunweb and ColoQuick-Cult lending them bikes so that they can ride the time trial. Casper Pedersen is the team's best-placed rider in the general classification in fifth place.
"We'll be ready to continue in Post Denmark Rund around later today," the statement continued. "Several of the riders had been looking forward to the time trial of their lives to defend or improve their place in the classification. So even if it's a completely different experience than expected, the riders will try to shake off the shock and ride to their best."
While the team will be able to continue, the team is worried about the morale of the riders and how they will adapt to the new equipment when fine margins are so important.
"We think that now the whole bike race has been destroyed. The riders are completely out of it," team manager Brian Nygaard Vinjebo told TV2. "We must pick them up and then we have to ride a bike race. I think that's the way to get them back on track. They are very much geared to their equipment and marginal gains, and everything is adjusted 100 per cent for each rider, so you can hardly ride optimally on another bike. Mentally, it's a problem."
The team has posted a photograph of the bikes that were stolen and have asked for any information regarding them to be sent to the team.