Canadian cyclist, Olympic hopeful asks for help recovering stolen bike
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A neighbor from the north has been robbed of precious Olympic training time.
Marie-Soleil Blais often travels to Tucson during the winter and spring months to practice professional road cycling for Team Canada.
“It’s my fifth year coming down to Tucson,” she said. “I always come here because I absolutely love the community. Especially coming from Canada where in the winter it’s kind of impossible to train, the weather here is the best. There is nice weather in California, for example, but I much prefer coming here because of the cycling community.”
On Friday, April 16, Blais’ training came to a screeching halt.
After biking down Mount Lemmon, Blais stopped at the nearest convenience store for a drink. She says it was just after 12 p.m. when she went into the Circle K at Bear Canyon Road and Tanque Verde Road.
“I left my bike [outside] and I had a really good view of it while I was standing in line,” she said. “It was like that 20 second moment to pay that I didn’t have my eyes on the bike ... and then my bike was gone. At first, it didn’t make any sense. So, I went inside the store and screamed, ‘Somebody stole my bike!’ Then, someone said, ‘Oh, I just saw a guy taking it and didn’t realize it wasn’t his’.”
Blais says according to the witness, the thief was a man who walked over from Wells Fargo bank.
Not only was her bike expensive, but Blais has also made countless modifications to it.
“This was my racing bike, it was my own personal bike,” she said. “Everything was custom. The frame is an S-Works Special Edition. It’s kind of like the fastest bike on the market, but on top of that, it’s a custom paint job. It’s black with yellow and teal splashes, it’s a piece of art. All the parts were custom for me. In women’s cycling, I’ve actually had a lot of issues because we have used bikes from men. So, it takes a lot of our own time to replace parts.”
The Tucson Police Department told KOLD News 13 a detective will be assigned to the case. Officers are working to get surveillance video from nearby businesses, but there have been no leads yet.
It’s a huge detour for Blais, who hopes to represent Canada in the 2024 Summer Games.
“Because of the pandemic, all of the bike stores right now - there is no stock,” she said. “Even if insurance can help me, it’s like at least a one-year delay. I will have to borrow a bike. I was supposed to be planning my racing calendar this week.”
Blais is asking the person who took her bike to do the right thing.
“You’re not going to be able to sell it,” she said. “Just return it.”
If you have seen Blais’ bike, you can contact Tucson Police Department’s crime team at (520) 791-4444. Information can be given anonymously.
The Tucson Police Department recommends:
- asking stores if you can bring your bike inside
- securing your bike with a bike lock
- placing it in an area with outdoor cameras
- writing down the serial number
- taking pictures of it
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