While the riders were sleeping the night before the Memorial Cimurri race, the Quick Step – Innergetic team’s equipment vehicle was broken into and 21 bikes stolen.
Among the bikes was the very one that Paolo Bettini only last weekend rode to victory in the World Championships.
“This really saddens me ,” twice World Champion Bettini said, “that bike had a particular significance for me. My mechanic left it exactly how it was after the World Championships with the number still attached to it. I know this is a long shot but, I just hope someone will come forward with information leading to the return of my bike.”
Luckily for Bettini the Italian decided to take his new Specialized SL2 to his hotel rider. That, and Andre Tonti’s spare bike which was in the boot of his car, were the only two bikes remaining after the midnight raid.
With some generosity, the riders still managed to take part in the race. “I’d like to thank the other teams that lent us five of their spare bikes enabling us to take part,” team manager Patrick Lefevere said.
So, if you see anyone riding Bettini’s bike, contact firstname.lastname@example.org