British cyclist Mark Cavendish said he was attacked by a burglar and his family threatened at knifepoint after their home in the county of Essex in England was broken into in November.
On Wednesday, Cavendish and his wife, Peta, released joined statements on social media revealing the incident and urged anyone with information to call UK authorities.
The 36-year-old Manx had been recovering from a serious accident at the Six Days of Ghent -- a track cycling event in Belgium -- on Nov. 21, where he broke his ribs and punctured his lung.
The statements read: "In the early hours of Nov. 27, while recovering at our Essex family home shortly after leaving Intensive Care, 4 masked and armed men forced their way into our home as we slept, threatened my wife and children and violently attacked me.
"At knifepoint, they proceeded to ransack our belongings.
"Amongst what was taken, were two watches of great sentiment and value. But far, far worse to be taken was the sense of security, safety, privacy and dignity that my young family and everybody else is entitled to in their own home.
"The effect that this nightmare has had on my family is already heart-breakingly evident, so I beg anybody who may be able to help with information to call [UK authorities] 101, quoting reference 42/275184/21."
Essex Police issued a statement confirming an investigation had been launched, and urged anyone with information to come forward, adding that a Luis Vuitton suitcase and two "high-value" watches had been taken.
The investigating officer, Detective Inspector Tony Atkin said: "This was undoubtedly a targeted incident at the home of a celebrated British Olympian, who at the time was recovering from significant injuries resulting from a crash whilst competing, which was well publicised. Our investigation is moving along at pace and we are following a number of lines of inquiry as we seek to catch those responsible.
"Mr. Cavendish and his wife were assaulted and threatened in their own home, in the presence of their young children, who witnessed these events. Thankfully, they are recovering, but the traumatic effect will be long standing."
The statement added no arrests have been made at this stage.
The track cycling series in Ghent was Cavendish's final event of the season.
In July, Cavendish returned to the Tour de France after a number of seasons plagued by injury and illness, and equaled Eddy Merckx's record of 34 Tour de France stage wins.
Last week he signed a contract extension with his Belgian team Deceuninck-Quick-Step.