A British pro cyclist has told how he had his bike stolen by a machete-wielding gang in Richmond Park, London.
The incident, which took place on Thursday afternoon, left Alexandar Richardson with cuts and grazes after he was thrown off his bike by a motorcycle rider.
Writing about it on Instagram, he said that four men wearing balaclavas started to follow him on two motorcycles after he had finished his 3pm training ride.
“I knew exactly they wanted to take my bike and started to think what the best thing I could do was,” he wrote. “I turned around at East Sheen roundabout and started riding full speed to the cafe about 500 metres away. They simply rode one of the motor bikes into me at 60 kph.”
Mr Richardson fell over but managed to hold onto his bike but then he described being dragged “along the floor for another 100 metres” by the second motorcycle.
One of the assailants then “pulled out a 15 inch machete at which point I thought better and let the bike go”, Mr Richardson said.
Metropolitan Police said they were called to the scene at around 4pm on Thursday to reports of a robbery in Richmond Park, a popular training area for London’s cyclists.
Officers attended the scene and carried out a search of the area but found no trace of the suspects.
They took a statement from Mr Richardson and enquiries are ongoing.
Speaking to The Independent, Mr Richardson said: “I was out on a training ride and these opportunists decided to knock me off. They knew what they wanted. It was a shiny bike, worth more than £10,000.
“They were just waiting. You get a lot of expensive bikes in that area.”
He said he saw the group before they clocked him and tried to turn around. “I started to turn round and go back”, he said, “and then I saw them nod at each other and then they just came full speed at me.
“I was doing 55-60kph and I tried to block the road by the first moped just drove straight into the back of me. The second one dragged me along and they got out the machete and I just saw that and let go.”
Mr Richardson said he wouldn’t let the incident phase him but would be more wary about going out on long training rides alone in the area.
“The probability of something like this happening again are quite high, so if I go into Richmond park it would probably be with other people,” he added.
He warned fellow cyclists about the danger in a post on Friday morning: “Please be careful in the area and note this is becoming a common occurrence in parts of London.”
He added: “If I’ve learnt anything from my time in cycling it’s don’t let negativity influence your productivity... Today is another day and I have a very positive memory of doing the worlds last weekend, something I worked hard to achieve.”
Mr Richardson is a professional cyclist who currently rides for Alpecin-Fenix.
A total of 74,573 bikes were reported stolen in England and Wales last year, with Greater London having the highest rate of crime.
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