Tour de France Team Loses $1 Million Worth of Bikes in Burglary

Tour de France cycling team Lampre-Merida lost about $1 million worth of bikes, equipment and cars in a burglary last weekend that has thrown its plans for next season into disarray, a company spokesman said.

More than 100 bikes, worth at least 7,000 euros ($9,500) each, were stolen from the team’s headquarters near Milan last weekend, Lampre said yesterday. The bikes, which come from Merida’s Warp TT, Scultura SL and Ride Pro brands, are painted black, lime green and purple. Two cars, office equipment and cycling parts including Fulcrum-brand wheels, Selle saddles and mechanical components were also taken.

Burglars “broke in by destroying the alarm system, telephone system and Internet connection, then continued on to clear the warehouse and team vehicles of all valued material,” the company said.

Riders were scheduled to gather Dec. 5 so the team could start testing the cycles in preparation for next season, spokesman Andrea Appiani said in a telephone interview. That will no longer happen.

“The main task now is to have some bikes ready for early January when races start,” Appiani said.

He added that the full extent of the loss is still being assessed by police, and that burglars also raided the headquarters in 2007.

Lampre rider Diego Ulissi won races including Milano-Torino this year, and team cyclists have also won the Giro d’Italia in previous seasons. Current general manager Giuseppe Saronni won the Giro in 1979 and 1983.

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