Two men to stand trial facing seven years in prison after Italy's track bikes stolen and €400k of damage caused

The trial follows the bikes being uncovered in a Romanian drugs bust

Track World Championships
(Image credit: Getty)

Two men will stand trial accused of stealing nearly two dozen bicycles from the Italian national track team and causing €400,000 worth of damage.

The bikes were stolen during the World Track Championships in Roubaix, France, before 21 of the 22 machines were recovered by Romanian authorities last week.

Of the four arrested during the drugs bust in eastern Europe, two will now appear before the courts in Lille and face up to seven years in prison, an 18-year-old Frenchman of Bosnian descent and a 20-year-old Bosnian. Both men have already admitted to being involved in the theft after being charged but have not provided details about who else assisted them in the operation.

The damage caused during the burglary and to the stolen goods, which alone were worth a total of €600,000, is estimated to be €400,000 and the men are currently being held in pre-trial detention before their hearing on December 10.

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The bikes were recovered after police in eastern Romania executed 20 arrest warrants on a criminal group, discovering the gang was shipping cocaine into the country to then distribute.

During the search of 14 properties, they also uncovered the bikes, including Filippo Ganna's gold Pinarello, which had been left in a locked van in supposedly secure parking at the Italian team's hotel in Lille.

In total, Romanian police recovered 21of the stolen bikes, along with eight interactive screens, a DVR, 10 mobiles phones, two grams of hash, €2,800 and 13,850 Romanian Leu (around £2,300). 

The stolen bikes didn't prevent Italy from winning 10 medals at the Track World Championships, however, and the riders still set to compete on Saturday and Sunday after the burglary on the Friday night were unaffected as their equipment had been left inside the velodrome ahead of competition.

Amongst their medal haul Italy also made history in Roubaix, with Letizia Paternoster winning the first-ever women's rainbow jersey in the Elimination race.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.