The bikes were valued at over €400,000 and included 12 Pinarello Bolide bikes and the four gold bikes used by Filippo Ganna and his Olympic gold medal-winning team pursuit teammates.
Several of the bikes were fitted with personalised titanium 3D-printed handlebars while the team pursuit squad’s gold bikes are valued at €30,000 apiece.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, 10 other road bikes belonging to different riders have also been recovered and taken to Italy but several wheels are missing.
The bikes were stolen from a van parked outside the Italian hotel during the track world championships in Roubaix in October. The bikes were due to be driven back to Italy but thieves struck during the night at the Italian team hotel in Lille.
The bikes were discovered by Romanian police when they caught the criminals in the act of attempting to sell the bikes.
The bikes were retrieved during house searches which also turned up other stolen goods including eight televisions, 10 mobile phones, drugs, and €2,800 in cash. 20 people were arrested as part of the operation.
The Italian Cycling Federation was concerned about retrieving the bikes but after hiring a lawyer to complete the paperwork, national team mechanics travelled to Romania on Monday and brought them back to Italy.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Ciro Scognamiglio, the bikes are now secured at the Montichiari velodrome near Brescia.
“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,” Italian Federation president Cordiano Dagnoni told La Gazzetta dello Sport.