Police are hunting a thief who stole the bike ridden to victory by a British champion triathlete in the Ironman World Championships.
Chrissie Wellington, from Feltwell, Norfolk, who won her fourth title in 2011, yesterday branded those responsible ‘scumbags’ on Twitter and said the bike had ‘great sentimental value’.
She posted a picture of her white Cannondale Slice bike - worth several thousand pounds - on Twitter along with CCTV showing someone riding off on it and hammered them for having the ‘audacity’ to steal it.
The 37 year-old former champion, who retired in 2012, said the bike was called Phoenix because, “we rose from the ashes. It means so much to me.”
In 2011 she fell off the bike two weeks before the World Championships but decided to ride it in the competition anyway and went on to win.
Chrissie said: “It means so much to me because that’s the race I’m most proud of, and to have ridden to victory on that bike gives it great sentimental value.
“I keep the medals, I keep the trophies, I keep my race kit and my running shoes and I keep my bikes. It’s quite a collection.
“I’m quite a sentimental person and that bike is up with all the other symbols and remembrance of the victories I’ve had.”
She added she would, “love to be able to get it back”.
The bike was stolen from her cousin’s office in Chessington, London, some time between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Wellington was unbeaten in 13 Ironman races and set the four fastest times for the race, including the female world record of eight hours 18 minutes and 13 seconds in Germany in July 2011.
She won the Ironman World Championships in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and retired from competition in December 2012.
The race has been held every year in Hawaii since 1976.
An Ironman comprises a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles of cycling and a full marathon.
A Metropolitan Police Spokeswoman said: “Kingston Burglary Squad are investigating a break in at office premises in Oakcroft Road, Chessington, we believe occurred at 11.15am on Sunday.
“A male suspect forced entry to the building and then an internal office to steal a ladies racing bike and around #70 in cash.
“Enquiries are continuing. There have been no arrests and we are examining CCTV.”
Click here to see the CCTV footage.