South East Wales

£60,000 Team Wiggins bikes and kit stolen in Cardiff

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Media captionTeam Wiggins mechanic Steve Edwards says the theft of back-up bikes was hard on the team ahead of the race

Team Wiggins have spoken about the mental challenge of competing in the velothon hours after their back-up bikes were stolen.

Four specialist bikes and kit worth about £60,000 were stolen from the team's van outside the Premier Inn Hotel in Cardiff.

Mechanic Steve Edwards said the riders had to race knowing if they crashed they had no replacement bikes.

He told BBC Wales: "If something went wrong it was race over for them."

Mr Edwards, from Rhondda Cynon Taff, discovered the theft when he went to check on the equipment ahead of the 87-mile (140km) race at about 07:45 BST on Sunday, and noticed the van's back window had been smashed.

South Wales Police is investigating the theft, believed to have taken place between 19:30 on Saturday and 08:00 on Sunday outside the hotel on Pentwyn Road.

'They can't jump on any bike'

Mr Edwards said a Bolide TT, three spare bikes and about 10 sets of Zipp 404 wheels were stolen, amounting to a theft of about £60,000 of equipment.

The theft of the spare bikes - which are exact replicas of the ones used by the riders - meant three riders had to compete knowing if they crashed it would be the end of their race.

Image copyright Team Wiggins
Image caption Team Wiggins tweeted a picture of one of the stolen bikes
Image caption The team had to have new spare tyres brought from Newport after their spares were stolen

He said: "If there was a crash in the race, as often happens, nine times out of 10 the rider is ok, but the bike is badly damaged. So they can jump straight back on their number two bike.

"It's hard on the head then, three of the guys knew straight away, if something goes wrong it is going to be race over for them."

He said: "The bikes are very specific to the riders, they are racing on them week-in-week-out, they can't just jump on any bike.

"They are team bikes, they are the same, but the frames are measured differently, set up differently. Some of the riders are 6ft 2in."

Image copyright Team Wiggins
Image caption A Pinarello Bolide TT, which was worth about £10,000, was stolen

The team also had to rely on spare wheels being brought from their headquarters in Newport, after the theft left them with no spares if a rider got a puncture.

Mr Edwards said the bikes would be very hard to sell on, as they are very unique with the Team Wiggins branding.

Pinarello Bolide TT bikes cost at least £10,000 while Zipp 404 wheels start at £650 each.

Five-time Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins founded Team Wiggins in 2015 to develop young British cycling talent.

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