100,000 euros' worth of bicycles stolen in Bruges

The members of the professional RadioShack-Leopard cycling team were in for a bad surprise on Saturday morning when it turned out that 8 of their bicycles were stolen at their hotel in Bruges. This happened during the 3 Days of West Flanders stage race. Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish was unable to clinch the victory in the opening stage.

RadioShack-Nissan is one of the teams competing in the "Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen" (3 days of West Flanders) stage race. The team was staying overnight in a hotel in Bruges after yesterday's prologue. This morning, it turned out that 8 bicycles and other material like bicycle wheels were stolen from the truck that was parked on the hotel parking lot during the night. The team estimated that the stolen goods are worth around 100,000 euros.

Despite the theft, the 8 cyclists competing for the team could start in the first stage. They are Belgium's Stijn Devolder and Ben Hermans, Bob Jungels (Luxemburg), Ben King (US), Tiago Machado and Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) and last year's overall winner Jesse Sergent of New Zealand.

No risks for Cavendish, no victory

The opening stage between Bruges and Harelbeke (185 km) was won by the Italian veteran sprinter Danilo Napolitano (Accent-Wandy, photo) in a bunch sprint.

Britain's race favourite Mark Cavendish didn't make the top-5. One of his team leaders, the former Belgian sprinter Tom Steels, explained that "the speed was very high due to the tail wind. Mark tried, but didn't give it 100% because it was too dangerous."

The Omega Pharma Quick Step team of Cavendish is happy though that prologue winner Kristof Vandewalle was able to retain the leader's jersey.