Thieves struck in Madrid, Spain, last Saturday, just one day prior to the cross country world cup round. Unlike previous attempts, they met with less success.
Just two weeks ago, the cross country World Cup season started in Houffalize on a sour note for teams who had their bikes stolen on the eve of the competition. Multivan Merida was one such unlucky team - its bikes were stolen out of a secured basement.
Multivan Merida was a target again when two of its team cars were forced open. Using a pick-axe and metal shears, a hole was cut into the sidewall of the team mechanic's car in an attempt to get to the expensive racing equipment. Although the thieves caused substantial damage to the vehicles, they failed to acquire gear. For security reasons, the cars had been completely emptied and all of the equipment, which had been transferred to a safe place.
"The material damage caused to the cars is huge and these cases of burglary are an annoyance. We have taken comprehensive security measures, and as a result we have not lost any additional equipment. Nevertheless, our equipment seems to be in high demand with professional gangs of burglars," said team manager Andi Rottler.
The team's riders, including José Hermida, Ralph Näf, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå and Moritz Milatz will all compete in Sunday's races.