Italian team's members Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon and Jonathan Milan compete in the men's Team Pursuit qualifying during the UCI Track Cycling World Championships at Jean-Stablinski velodrome in Roubaix, northern France, on October 20, 2021. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP) (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)

20 of Team Italy’s highly distinctive Pinarello track bikes have been stolen

The custom track bikes, some of them bright gold, were stolen from a team van in a guarded hotel parking lot during the Track World Champs.

by Kit Nicholson

photography by Getty Images

Twenty Pinarello bikes belonging to the Italian track team have been stolen from a secure car park at the UCI Track World Championships in Roubaix.

Het Nieuwsblad reports that the theft took place on Friday night, the same day Filippo Ganna and Jonathan Milan celebrated their bronze and silver medals in the individual pursuit, adding to their team pursuit world title won a couple of days earlier.

The Italian squad has been the most successful so far at the 2021 World Champs, which are being held in the Roubaix velodrome (not that one). As well as the men’s team pursuit squad, Martina Fidanza and Letizia Paternoster are also world champions in the women’s scratch and elimination events, and the newly minted road world champion Elisa Balsamo was part of the silver medal-winning team pursuit lineup.

The Roubaix police have opened an investigation into the incident, sadly not the first of its kind. It’s being described as a ‘professional’ job given that the Italian team picked a hotel with a guarded parking lot, and yet the thieves were able to gain access and get away with 20 top-of-the-line track bikes, each costing upwards of €10,000.

All the pursuit and sprint equipment had been packed up ready to travel back to Italy on Saturday morning. This includes anything used by the prolific men’s team pursuit squad, which was riding a distinctive fleet of gold frames to celebrate their Olympic title, and most of the bikes are equipped with custom 3D printed handlebars. It’s hard to imagine this haul will be easy to sell…

The Italian riders due to compete this weekend still have their bikes in their possession, so their participation is unaffected.

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