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After what Exergy Tour communications director Heather Hill called “a little bit of an unexpected glitch here on the first day” - the theft and then recovery, apparently unscathed, of $120,000 worth of racing bikes and equipment from one of the teams - the event is on. “We are humbled to be hosting over 100 athletes representing 18 of their home countries, many of whom will represent their home nations in the Olympic games this summer,” Hill declared. She said the women's bike race is aimed at “raising the bar” for women's sports. “Our $100,000 prize purse, the largest for a ladies' five-stage race in the history of the sport, is one example of raising the bar.”
Steve Johnson, president and CEO of USA Cycling, the organization responsible for identifying, training and selecting cyclists to represent the United States in international competition, called the Boise women's cycling race “an exceptional event.” Idaho hosted the Women's Challenge from 1984 to 2002; this year's event marks the return of high-level women's bicycle racing to the state. “This is probably one of the biggest and most exciting women's bike racing events in the world this year,” Johnson said. “You have some of the greatest … cyclists in the world here. You don't have to go to London. It's a great opportunity to see the top level of women's professional bike racing right here in Idaho.”
The race starts tomorrow with the Prologue, an evening time trial starting from and finishing at Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise, running from there to the Boise Depot and back, and starting at 6:30 p.m. That'll be followed by a road race starting from the Nampa Rec Center on Friday at 11 a.m.; an individual time trial in Kuna on Saturday; a 59.7-mile road race from Garden Valley to Idaho City on Sunday; and a final 46.7-mile road race Monday at 11 a.m. starting and finishing at Hyde Park in Boise, and looping up and through the Boise foothills. Spectators are welcome at all the events; there are details online at exergytour.com. The public also is invited tonight to festivities in the Grove in downtown Boise, starting with live music at 5 p.m., a “Walk to London” event led by Olympians and Paralympians, and the team presentation at 7 p.m.
Among those racing are Boise Olympic cycling medalist Kristin Armstrong and U.S. rivals Amber Neben and Evelyn Stevens, all three of whom are competing for two spots on the U.S. Time Trial team at this summer's Olympics in London. AP reporter John Miller has a full report here on the competition. Stevens, 29, is nearly a decade younger than her two rivals. “I found the sport of cycling a little bit later in life,” she said today. At the age of “25 or 26,” she said, while working as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers on Wall Street, she started off riding a bike in Central Park. At last year's U.S. championships, Stevens won, with Neben second and Armstrong third. But Armstrong has beat Stevens in time trials three times this year; she holds the 2008 Olympic gold medal in the time trial, and was world champion in 2006 and 2009. Neben was world time trial champion in 2008.
Also racing are six-time German champion Daniela Glass; current road world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy; 2011 Swiss national road champion Pascale Schnider; British 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the road race Nicole Cooke; Australian national road race champion Alexis Rhodes; Swedish national time trial champion Emilia Fahlin; current German road-race champion Ina-Yoko Teutenberg; three-time Australian national time trial champion Shara Gillow; and many more.
Boise Mayor David Bieter kicked off the opening press conference of the Exergy Tour with some good news that was heartily welcomed by the assembled athletes: “I'm happy to report that all of the bikes have been found,” Bieter said. “They are in good shape, and the team will have their bikes to ride on.” He said, “Our kudos to the Police Department.”
Boise Police reported that the stolen racing bikes from Team TIBCO were recovered in three locations on the BSU campus, and appear to be undamaged. Their investigation into the theft continues.
The Boise Police say six of the professional racing bikes reported stolen from an Exergy Tour team this morning have been recovered by officers on the 1300 block of University Drive, locked together to a bike rack. BPD credited the recovery to a citizen tip, from a citizen who recognized that the bikes looked like those in pictures of the stolen property. There are still eight valuable racing bikes missing that racers need to compete; read the BPD's full update here.
Boise Police now say they've recovered six of the 14 professional racing bikes stolen last night from a women's professional cycling team in town for the Exergy Tour, which starts tomorrow; KTVB-TV has a report here. The Idaho Statesman reports here that the six recovered bikes were found locked together on the BSU campus.
The Exergy Tour has sent out the following statement on last night's theft of expensive professional bikes and equipment from one of the competing teams; the photo shows an example of what the bikes look like:
Last night several thousand dollars worth of bikes and pro cycling equipment was stolen from the Team TIBCO trailer in a Boise hotel parking lot. The team is in Idaho to compete in the Exergy Tour ladies pro cycling race. Below are the statements from Boise Mayor David Bieter, Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson, Exergy Development Group CEO James Carkulis, and Team TIBCO regarding this event.
STATEMENT FROM BOISE MAYOR DAVE BIETER
“I was angry and deeply disappointed when I learned of the theft of the bikes and equipment from Team Tibco last night. This is not the kind of community we live in and not the kind of welcome we want to extend to visitors for this wonderful Exergy Tour event. These are specialized racing bikes branded with the team’s logo; they’re of absolutely no use to anyone except the riders to whom they belong. I’m asking any members of the public who might have information regarding this crime to help us in securing the return of this equipment so that everyone can enjoy this great competition.”
STATEMENT FROM BOISE POLICE CHIEF MIKE MASTERSON
“Crimes like this, which target a public event, don’t just hurt the victims; they hurt the entire community. Fortunately this kind of theft is rare in Boise, but that makes this particular incident all the more upsetting. Our detectives are working hard to track down the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and Crime Stoppers has pledged a reward of $1,000 for the return of the Team Tibco equipment, and the Mayor’s Office is in for another $1,000. As always, members of the public are the best partners of law enforcement in solving crimes like this, so I echo the Mayor’s plea and ask citizens to call 343-COPS (343-2677) if they have any information that might be helpful.”
STATEMENT FROM EXERGY DEVELOPMENT GROUP CEO, JAMES CARKULIS
“The Boise Police Department and the Office of the Mayor are working feverishly to apprehend these thieves and recover the equipment. Exergy is doing everything possible to make sure the teams will be on track to race tomorrow evening at the Prologue. This places a pallor over the event well before the start of such a positive experience for these athletes and for the sport. We know these athletes are strong willed and determined and we shall find a way for them to compete.”
STATEMENT FROM TIBCO – TO THE TOP
“Last night the Team TIBCO trailer van was broken into at a race hotel parking lot in Boise, Idaho. 14 bikes have been stolen, including six Specialized Time Trial Shivs and eight Specialized Amira bikes. These bikes were top end race bikes, built with top of the line SRAM components. The time trial bikes specifically are very unique and should be easily identifiable. Our Reynolds wheels were stolen as well, including our time trial Element Discs and very special RZR 46s and 92s. These wheels are also very unique and are not easily available.
“This is a huge blow to the team. On the performance side, our riders now have to compete in the most important stage race in the country without their Specialized/SRAM /Reynolds time trial equipment. The financial side is equally crippling. Women’s cycling teams do not have big budgets. This loss has a huge impact on the team’s financial health.
“We were really looking forward to the resurrection of stage racing in Idaho with Exergy Tour. The team’s founder fondly remembers Idaho from the legendary Ore-Ida/Hewlett Packard Stage Race days. This is not the Idaho that she remembers. We are hopeful that the community can help us recover these bikes quickly so that our athletes can perform to the best of their ability in this important UCI race leading up to the Olympics.
“We thank George’s Cycles in Boise Idaho, who has offered a $500 reward for information leading to the safe return of our equipment, and we will match that amount. We also thank Exergy for contributing another $1,000 to the reward, bringing the total to $2,000. Please help us recover our equipment.”
Boise Police ask for help to find racing bikes stolen from elite women cyclists in town for Exergy Tour
A trailer-full of racing bikes belonging to a team of bike racers from California competing in the inaugural Exergy Tour, a professional women's bike racing event that kicks off in Boise tomorrow, were stolen when thieves broke a lock on the team's bike trailer parked outside their Boise hotel last night, and Boise Police are asking people to watch for the distinctive bicycles,which are marked with distinctive white TIBCO team logos and are valued at $120,000. The bikes are Specialized brand carbon fiber racing bikes; you can see the full BPD new release here, including photos of the bicycles. The bike wheels are Reynolds brand carbon fiber arrow style wheels painted black, with bold, white REYNOLDS lettering.
Sixteen teams from nine countries are competing in the Exergy Tour, which starts tomorrow and runs through Monday. They include many of the top women cyclists in the world, including athletes who are vying for spots on their respective Olympic teams for this summer's Olympics in London. Click below for a full report on the bike theft from AP reporter John Miller, who reports that the theft victims include Olympic hopefuls.
BICYCLING — Here’s another sign of springtime in Yellowstone National Park: Portions of the park have opened to bicycling.
The park has closed to snowmobiles for the winter but has yet to open to motorized vehicles for the summer.
In the meantime, bicyclists can travel between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs, although not to Old Faithful or Canyon.
Park officials say bicyclists should be well prepared for weather that can quickly change to severe snow, ice and cold. Potentially dangerous animals including bison and grizzly bears are out and about and no services are available.
Yellowstone officials say anybody bicycling in Yellowstone this time of year should be ready to endure winter conditions for an extended period and be able to rescue themselves if necessary.
BICYCLING — The Spokane Bike Swap is taking shape at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. Bike vendors are setting up and sellers can bring bikes in until 8 p.m.
Shop for bikes Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-noon.
Admission: $5 per person, free for 12 and under.
CYCLING — The mantra of less government control in Idaho apparently doesn't apply to bicyclists.
An Idaho representative wants to forbid bicyclists from riding two abreast as part of a bike-safety measure that would also require drivers to maintain a three-foot distance from cyclists when passing.
The Spokesman-Review reported that Rep. Marv Hagedorn of Meridian suggested adding the two-abreast ban to the bill before it was sent to the House for amendments on an 8-4 vote.
Its sponsor, Rep. Roy Lacey of Pocatello, hopes to make it safer for non-motorized transportation on Idaho’s roadways.
Lacey’s measure also covers pedestrians, joggers, wheelchairs and horses.
Not everybody was supportive.
House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke cited an existing law requiring motorists to exercise due care when passing.
But Kurt Holzer, a Boise attorney and cyclist, says this bill helps define just what “due care” means.