Italy's team mechanics have retrieved the 22 track bikes stolen from them during the World Championships in Roubaix in October, travelling to Romania to collect them from local police.
Romanian authorities discovered the stolen bikes (opens in new tab), worth over €400,000 in total, during a drugs raid on a criminal group.
Included among the stolen items were four gold Pinarello Bolide track bikes used by Filippo Ganna and his Olympic gold medal-winning team pursuit teammates. The rest were all custom-built with unique colours and 3D-printed handlebars.
Italy's cycling team discovered they had been the victim of the theft after the Pinarello machines had been packed into a van and left in secure parking at a Lille hotel following the individual pursuit.
Once the police had discovered the bikes, 20 people were arrested as part of an operation that included a drugs raid on multiple properties in eastern Romania. Police also recovered other stolen goods, such as televisions and mobile phones, alongside the bikes.
The Italian Cycling Federation's national team mechanics travelled to Romania on Monday to retrieve the bikes, after lawyers completed the necessary paperwork for the release of the machines.
Italian Federation president Cordiano Dagnoni said that the mechanics managed to recover all of the bikes from Romania successfully, minus a few wheels.
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab): “They loaded the bikes on Monday and left Romania straight away. Now the bikes are back in Italy, in the Montichiari velodrome. They’re all there, only a few wheels are missing."
The Montichiari velodrome, near Brescia, is now housing the bikes securely.
Before the ordeal of having their bikes stolen, Italy had managed to pick up two gold medals at the Track World Championships in Roubaix.
Elia Viviani won the men's elimination race, while Letizia Paternoster did the same in the women's elimination. Martina Fidanza also secured gold in the women's scratch, with the men's quartet of Liam Bertazzo, Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna and Jonathan Milan picking up gold in the team pursuit - a couple of months after they had won gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
The track cycling world championships will return to France once again in 2022, with Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Montigny-le-Bretonneux hosting the event.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
ABS on e-bikes? It’s what potential consumers want, study finds
More than half of potential e-bike buyers would like an anti-lock braking system on their bikes but without the added costs...
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Bike advocates sue City of Portland for failing ‘to meet its most basic legal obligations to provide safe streets’
Bike Advocates sue City of Portland for failing to uphold a 1971 state law requiring pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in street construction projects
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published