This was a warning, pure and simple, in a deadly game of revenge.
There’s no need for police to investigate who masterminded the theft of a Team Trek-Livestrong time trial bike this weekend.
The Trek Equinox TTX SSL was stored in the future home of the Team Radio Shack, in the same building as Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny bike shop in Austin, Texas. We know the guilty party: Nikolai Proskurin, president of the Kazah Cycling Federation.
Revenge is an ugly game and this is all about payback. Armstrong knows the real story and so does Radio Shack director Sportif Johan Bruyneel. Only yesterday Proskurin accused Bruyneel of sabotaging Team Astana’s attempt to re-new their ProTour license. “Bruyneel told us that he would do everything possible to ensure that they withdrew our license,” Proskurin stated.
Our guess is ex-Kazak military made the night raid on the Mellow Johnny store. Or possibly an organized crime group from the former soviet republic. This was a warning –one bike only. Nobody tortured or killed, no abductions or ransom to pay.
But make no mistake, Nikolai Proskurin sent Radio Shack a message. You stole almost a dozen of my riders at Astana and now you’re messing with my license. Back off or there will be blood. Armstrong is probably on the phone now with Blackwater security and laying a perimeter around the store.
I hate to be the one to say these words but the kids should be sent to a safer place as long as Proskurin and his henchmen are on the prowl.
Note to Austin police: be on the lookout for burly guys with shaved heads and heavy slavic accents trying to order bottles of Marmara Kirmizi beer in the Austin bars. An obvious tip off.
You don’t mess with the Kazaks. This is war and a simple break-in to snatch a $10,000 bike is nothing. This won’t be the last we hear from the Kazak mafia.