A week after the Italian national track team had 22 bikes stolen from their hotel at the UCI Track World Championships in Roubaix, Romanian police have recovered the several hundred thousand Euro haul in their country.
The Pinarellos, which included four gold bikes used by Filippo Ganna and his gold medal-winning team pursuit teammates, were recovered by Romanian police during the course of a large-scale anti-drug busts on Thursday.
Police caught the criminals in the act of attempting to sell some of the bikes, which in total are valued at around €600,000.
The bikes were discovered 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 bikes had originally gone missing last Friday, two days before the end of the Track Worlds, after being stored in a van in the secure car park of the Italian team’s hotel in Lille. Several of the bikes incorporated titanium 3D-printed handlebars while the team pursuit squad’s bike were painted gold and are valued at €30,000 apiece.
“They were well organised,” head of the Italian delegation Roberto Amadio said of the burglars to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We knew how difficult the trip could be from a [safety] point of view, so we chose to stay in a hotel with a private, monitored car park even if the commute each day was a bit more demanding.
“Evidently, even these measures didn’t stop the perpetrators.”
Aside from the bike theft – which didn’t disrupt the final two days of the Worlds for Italy as the appropriate bikes were stored in the Roubaix velodrome – the team had a successful week in France, walking away with four golds, three silvers and three bronzes.
Ganna, Liam Bertazzo, Simone Consonni and Jonathan Milan won gold in the men’s team pursuit, Letizia Paternoster and Martina Fidanza took golds in the women’s elimination and scratch races, and Elia Viviani rounded out the Worlds with gold in the men’s elimination race.
Romanian police published a video of the recovered bikes, which can be seen below.