A bicycle in the colours of the Tour de France destined to be sold in a charity auction was stolen on the opening day of Grand Depart weekend in a central Brussels square, prompting some of cycling's biggest names to take part in a campaign aiming to recover it.
The theft, which took place in Brussels' Place de Brouckère on Saturday evening, was called out on Twitter by former Belgian Tour champ Eddy Merckx as well as Slovak racer Peter Sagan, who finished second during the weekend's opening sprint.
The organisers of the Tour de France also denounced the theft on Twitter and appealed to members of the public to help them locate the stolen item, one of four bicycles decorated in the characteristic jerseys of the cycling race and destined to be auctioned off for charity.
"Last night, one of the Qhubeka bicycles on show at the Brussels Fan Park was stolen," the organisers said in a Tweet. "The auction at the end of the Tour helps us to finance bicycles for children in South Africa. Please help us find the yellow Qhubeka bicycle!"
News of the theft, which took place on the first day of the Tour's Grand Depart weekend, come at the same time as one Brussels resident launched a social media campaign aiming to call on authorities to act on the problem of recurring bike theft in Brussels.
The Brussels Times