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Missing Tour trophy may have been taken 'by mistake'.

Byline: PAUL SUART paul.suart@reachplc.com

DETECTIVES investigating the disappearance of the Tour de France trophy in Birmingham believe it may have been taken "by mistake".

A probe was launched after the famous trophy, won this year by British rider Geraint Thomas, went missing from the Cycle Show at the NEC. The Coupe Omnisports, as it is also known, has yet to be recovered by the police, who are not ruling out accidental theft.

Det Insp Jon Kiteley, from West Midlands Police CID, said: "The trophy was packed into a white storage box and it is believed this box has gone missing at some point while the show was being packed away and loaded on to the removal van.

"If anyone saw anything during this time, or may have picked this box up by mistake, please do not hesitate to get in touch."

Thomas became only the third Briton, following Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, to win the Yellow Jersey when he triumphed in France over the summer.

Team Sky, Thomas' race team, loaned the trophy to sponsors and Italian bike manufacturer Pinarello for display at the three-day Cycle Show.

Cardiff-born Thomas was heartbroken when he learned his prized silverware had vanished and made an emotional plea for it to be returned.

"It goes without saying that the trophy is of pretty limited value to whoever took it," the 32-year-old said.

"But it 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 ever take those away."

Richard Hemington, UK managing director of Pinarello, said: "We are obviously devastated. We accept full responsibility and have personally apologised to Geraint. Obviously, we hope the trophy can be recovered."

Thomas won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year tonight following his historic heroics across the Channel.

This year's star-studded event was, somewhat ironically, held in the Resorts World Arena - at the NEC - on Sunday.

West Midlands Police believe the trophy went missing some time between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on September 29.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police, quoting crime reference number 20SH/225824R/18, on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

It

means'

a

'lot to me and to the team. Hopefully whoever took it will have the good grace to return it.

Geraint Thomas

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Publication:Solihull News (Solihull, Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 21, 2018
Words:413
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