Riding the Tour de France is stressful enough without your suitcase going missing...
That misfortune befell Intermarché Circus Wanty's Mike Teunissen this week. As the Dutch rider and the rest of the peloton set out from Bilbao for stage one this morning, his suitcase remained at Amsterdam airport where it had been since he boarded a flight to the Basque Grand Départ earlier in the week.
And despite several public pleas with Vueling Airlines and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Teunissen has watched numerous 'next available flights' pass without his suitcase moving from its terminal resting place 1,160km away, leaving the lead-out man, and winner of the opening stage back in 2019, in a state of having "never felt more tired starting a Grand Tour".
"At least we don't have to stress about which clothes to wear," Teunissen joked on social media before Vueling Airlines told him, on Thursday, they "apologise for the loss of the bag and completely understand the inconveniences that such circumstance can cause", and said it would be "sent on the next available flight", a promise that has not aged well in the days since.
"The next next next next available flight has departed and guess where my suitcase is.." Teunissen explained this morning. "Now it's just getting ridiculous, especially the lack of responsibility, communication and perspective is striking."
Training time today ? Just as long as the washing machine and dryer need to clean my one set of normal clothing 😜
— Mike Teunissen (@MikeTeunissen) June 30, 2023
This final disappointment came a day after, "Another day, another Vueling flight incoming from Schiphol, another day without suitcase, another moment where no one is taking any kind of responsibility, now I know how frustrating it can be, dealing with airports and airlines."
The Amsterdam airport's social media team was quick to point out to the pro: "From the moment of check-in, the hold luggage is handled and managed by your airline's baggage handler. The baggage handler of Vueling is Aviapartner. They're the only ones who can assist in tracing and sending lost or delayed luggage."
Extra motivation for the 30-year-old to get a jersey and save his single team kit some time in the wash. Teunissen may be further disappointed to hear airport nightmares are nothing new for two-wheeled travellers, just today Team GB triathlete Tom Kennedy recalling his own horror story of his £9,000 BMC not arriving for an event in Nantes in France this weekend.
The Scottish athlete's skinsuit and helmet, also packed in his bike box, failed to arrive when he got off his flight from Edinburgh on Thursday, the Daily Record reports.
"The bike had an Airtag on it so we know it is still in Edinburgh. Ryanair told us they have no way of getting the bike onto another flight today because they don't have any staff at Edinburgh to look for it," Tom's mum Sally told the newspaper.
"They are treating it with absolutely no urgency. It's totally unacceptable. This isn't a lost swimsuit in someone's holiday case. This is a very expensive piece of equipment that an athlete is depending on. We just want them to at least attempt to deliver it on time. So far they are saying next week is the best they can do but that is not good enough."
Last year we reported on numerous similar cases as baggage chaos at airports, caused in part by a huge increase in passenger numbers after two years that saw people postpone plans to travel due to Covid.
In June, Australian triathlete Sian Hurley travelled all the way across the world for the Ironman UK event only to find that her equipment had gone missing at London Heathrow airport as she transferred to Newcastle.
In September, Nicolas Roche's custom-made bike was lost for 11 days after the retired Irish pro's flight from Gatwick airport to Nice was cancelled at the last minute.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.