A Fife cycling star being fast-tracked for Olympic glory had two bikes stolen by masked thieves.
Joe Nally, 16, missed the Manchester Revolution event after his road and track bikes, worth an estimated £4,000, were taken from outside a Travelodge.
The Woodmill High School pupil, who lives in Charlestown, and his father, Mick, 49, were staying in Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire.
They were on their way up from London, where Joe had taken part in the Six Day elite track meeting in London.
His mother, Ruth Downie, 49, said a hotel receptionist tried to confront the thieves in the early hours of Saturday.
“The lad in reception heard what was happening and went outside and challenged the guys. They were masked and armed. They threatened him and he retreated.”
The receptionist phoned the police. Joe and his dad were woken up at 3am to be told about the theft by officers. The thieves used bolt croppers to cut the bikes from the cycle rack on the back of Mick’s car.
Ruth said: “He was absolutely gutted. It’s been a real rollercoaster of emotions.
“He was getting himself ready to race in Manchester and then he got his bikes nicked. He had to come back home, and pass the velodrome where he should have been competing.”
Joe has been selected for the British Cycling Junior Academy, which is preparing the country’s top cyclists for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He was selected for the Next Generation programme run by energy giant SSE, which gave him the chance to meet six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy at the velodrome named after him in Glasgow.
Friends and members of the cycling community have rallied round to help and £1,780 has been raised through an online fundraising page.
Donations can be made at gogetfunding.com/get-joe-back-on-his-bike or at Hardie Bikes in Cairneyhill.
In the meantime, Joe has managed to borrow another track bike.