LONDON - Geraint Thomas has pleaded for the return of his Tour de France trophy, which was stolen from a cycling show.
The Welshman and Team Sky had loaned the trophy to bike manufacturer Pinarello to showcase at a fan event, as a way of sharing their victory with the cycling community in Britain.
Along with Thomas’s trophy, Chris Froome’s 2017 Vuelta a Espana and 2018 Giro d’Italia trophies were also on show. However, during the clean-up process on the second day of The Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham last month, Thomas’s prestigious Coupe Omnisports was stolen.
It is understood it was only briefly left unattended. West Midlands Police are investigating the theft, which took place on September 29, and are appealing for witnesses. The incident is undoubtedly extremely embarrassing for Pinarello, who have accepted full responsibility.
Thomas, 32, became only the third Briton in history to win the Tour de France, lifting the blue and gold trophy in Paris exactly two months before it was stolen. In urging whoever has the trophy to show "good grace" in returning it, he noted that it has little monetary value but holds great sentimental value for himself and the team.
Thomas said: "It is incredibly unfortunate that this has happened. It goes without saying that the trophy is of pretty limited value to whoever took it, but means a lot to me and to the team. Hopefully whoever took it will have the good grace to return it. A trophy is important, but clearly what matters most are the amazing memories from this incredible summer - and no-one can take those away.’
Richard Hemington, managing director of Pinarello (UK) said: "We are obviously devastated about this. We accept full responsibility and have personally apologised to Geraint. Obviously we all hope that the trophy can be recovered."
Team Sky are currently dealing with "all relevant parties" to agree on possible solutions to the issue.