ROUSSET, France — Boulder-based team Garmin-Sharp pulled out of the Tour of the Mediterranean ahead of Saturday's fourth stage after 17 of its bikes were stolen from a hotel car park in southern France.

"Our truck was broken into during the night ... with thieves stealing 17 bikes, several sets of wheels and other equipment," the American outfit said in a statement.

"This is a big loss for the team, not just from an equipment standpoint but because the Tour was a huge goal for us and the team was in great shape for it," added team director Jonathan Vaughters.

"Due to the theft, we were forced to withdraw," Vaughters said. "We're in the process of planning a camp for the team that was not able to continue at the race."

"We're also grateful for the support we have received from local authorities and other teams, some of whom offered to help us continue the race by loaning us equipment — although that ultimately proved to be too difficult, the offers were deeply appreciated. ... This experience gives us even more motivation in our next races."

Authorities are investigating the robbery, which took place 20 miles from Marseille.

Reuters



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