Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lance's Time Trial Bike Stolen

SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Lance Armstrong's time-trial bike was stolen from the Team Astana truck during the night before Stage 1 of the Tour of California.

Armstrong rode the bike to a 10th-place finish Saturday in Sacramento during the Tour prologue. The race is his first competitive appearance in his native country since the seven-time Tour de France winner began his cycling comeback last month.

A few hours after the time trial, someone removed four bikes from the Astana truck outside the team hotel in Sacramento. Armstrong's time-trial bike, which was closest to the door because he was delayed by a post-race trip to doping control, was taken along with race bikes belonging to Astana teammates Steve Morabito, Yaroslav Popovych and Janez Brajkovic.

Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed the theft to The Associated Press after it was reported by Armstrong himself on his Twitter feed. Armstrong later posted a picture of the bike, which has distinctive yellow-and-black wheels and the logo of his Livestrong foundation.

Lance's Missing TT Bike

"There is only one like it in the world therefore hard to pawn it off. Reward being offered," Armstrong wrote before jumping on his race bike for the 107-mile ride from Davis to Santa Rosa through a steady rainstorm.

Team Astana manager Johan Bruyneel also mentioned the thefts on his Twitter feed before he began following his riders. The racers all have backup bikes, and two-time defending Tour champion Levi Leipheimer's bike wasn't stolen.

Armstrong won't need his time-trial bike again until Friday in Solvang, where the race holds its second time trial. That segment is crucial to Astana's hopes of winning the overall team title.

For those who don't Twitter, you can follow mine (notice the Twitter badge on the right navigation bar). But then my Twitters aren't as exciting as a Biking God. I have been following Lance's: Here are his recent Twitters:

Already up. Have an 8:30 start today. Yikes. Going to be some tired boys today.
5 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Thanks to everyone that came out today and cheered us all on even in these conditions. We all appreciate it. Good night.
about 7 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Just caught up with my step bro Mike and his family. Great seeing them.
about 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Reply - "I was at In and Out Burger". What?? He ordered a double-double (xtra onions), fries, coke, and a strawberry shake. Wow.
about 11 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Getting massage and Horner comes in. He's just back from the race. Johan and I were like, "where have u been?".
about 11 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Staying at an amazing place here in Sausalito. Helps to take the sting off of today's stage.
about 11 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Had lots of ?'s re: the status of the stolen bikes. Still no sign of them.
about 12 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Holy hell. That was terrible. Maybe one of the toughest days I've had on a bike, purely based on the conditions. I'm still freezing.
about 13 hours ago from TwitterBerry

http://twitpic.com/1i8t1 - A pic of the stolen tt bike. There is only one like it in the world therefore hard to pawn it off.
about 21 hours ago from TwitPic

Whoa!! They just came to my room and said our truck was broken into and someone stole my time trial bike! Wtf?!? APB out to the twitterati.
about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Note - If you were curious about the open water buoy roll move I spoke of last week in this earlier blog entry, the YouTube video has been located. Give it a look!

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