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Nicolas Roche’s custom-made bike lost in airport for 11 days

The retired Irish rider was attempting to travel home to Monaco from the UK when his flight was cancelled at the last minute

A custom road bike belonging to Nicolas Roche has been lost for 11 days after the retired Irish pro’s flight from Gatwick airport to Nice was cancelled at the last minute.

The former Team Sky and BMC rider was travelling home to Monaco and had checked in his bike bag and other luggage when he was informed of the cancellation of the EasyJet flight, Sticky Bottle reports.

While Roche and his fellow passengers had not yet made it through security at the time of the announcement, his bags had gone ahead and remain missing 11 days later, despite the Irishman’s continuous efforts to track them down.

Nicolas Roche's custom FiftyOne 2 (credit - FiftyOne bikes)

Credit: FiftyOne Bikes

The missing bike was custom built for the two-time Vuelta a España stage winner following his retirement from the sport at the end of last year by FiftyOne Bikes, the company founded by former racer Aidan Duff and for whom Roche now works as a test pilot.

Roche’s four Irish road race championships, four Olympic Games participations and two Vuelta stages are commemorated in the design of the bike, which was built to the former Sunweb man’s demanding specifications, which included an emphasis on comfort and endurance while retaining the frame’s stiffness and dynamism.

> What should you do if an airline loses your bike? 

Roche told Sticky Bottle that he was working in the UK the week before last and was travelling with the now-lost bike for a corporate job. He then rushed to the airport to fly home to Monaco, where he had another work appointment with Swiss clothing manufacturer Assos.

“I checked in the bag, and then went to the oversized luggage area to give in the bike bag and they accepted it. Of course that system is all automated but it took the bags,” he said.

After being informed of the cancellation shortly after check-in, Roche tried – with no success – to secure information about the location of his bike at Gatwick’s customer service area. Needing to get home for work, the cyclist turned his attention to securing an alternative flight. But thanks to the travel chaos stemming from the cancelled flights, Roche only saw his front door in Monaco a frustrating 24 hours later.

> Blame Air Canada – Tour de France rider still missing THREE bikes lost on flight to Grand Départ due to global airline baggage crisis 

11 days on, Roche is still waiting to receive information about his missing bike bag and luggage, which contains his cycling kit. While he is convinced that the bike is still in Gatwick airport, an EasyJet employee – who rang him inquiring how he got home after failing to book another flight with the airline – told Roche that it was now Nice airport’s responsibility to locate his belongings.

“But this was despite the flight being cancelled and never leaving London,” he said.

“So I kicked up about that and the guy [from EasyJet] agreed to keep my file open. Normally I’d have [tracking] tags in my bag but this time, because I was making a very quick visit and the travel arrangements were going to be tight, I travelled with smaller luggage to make things faster. So, I hadn’t put the tag into the new bag.

“It’s either in the airport or someone has nicked it, which is always a possibility with these things I guess. But so far all they have told me is they have no news.”

> British cyclist’s £12k bike sat at airport in Germany for weeks as baggage chaos continues 

The return of mass air travel following two years of Covid-related restrictions, and the stress it has placed on airlines, has resulted in a global baggage crisis with luggage – including bikes – piling up in airports.

Over the past few months, we’ve shared stories from a range of cyclists – from keen amateurs taking on challenges abroad to Ironman competitors and Tour de France riders – whose bikes have gone missing in transit.

> Ironman triathlete's £15,000 TT bike and kit lost by British Airways — cyclist waiting to be reunited two weeks later 

In July, we reported that Scottish cyclist Richard Davidson had flown to Stanstead on his way to the five-day Haute Route Pyrenees only to be told by EasyJet that his £14,000 bike and gear had ended up in Naples due to issues with a label printer at Edinburgh Airport.

The 55-year-old had spent 10 months training for the event, covering 5,500 miles, and ultimately was able to complete the event having bought a helmet, shoes, shorts and hired a bike.

Novo Nordisk pro rider Stephen Clancy also reported his €12,000 Argon team bike went missing at Dublin Airport as he travelled to Copenhagen at the end of June, while Israel-Premier Tech pro Guillaume Boivin was forced to borrow a bike for the Tour de France’s opening time trial in the Danish capital after three of his bikes were lost on the flight from Canada.

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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joe9090 | 1 year ago

Nice airport is far from nice. Its actually one of the sh1ttiest airports I have ever used.
Also I have a hard time having sympathy for a chap living in Monaco. His monthly rent must be the same as the cost of a replacement high end bike. Alot of tossers live in Monaco having had experience of working there myself.

Rendel Harris replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago

joe9090 wrote:

Nice airport is far from nice. Its actually one of the sh1ttiest airports I have ever used.

Not my experience but I've only used it a couple of times so I'll take your word for it; it can't be denied that it has one of the nicest walks/rides to an airport in the world though, two or three miles along the Promenade des Anglais. Spectacular takeoff/landing views as well.

Totally agree about Monaco, why people with the money to live anywhere in the world would choose to live there is well beyond me. I know the cyclists like it because there's no income tax and you have the perfect training ground in the Alpes Maritimes, but with Nice, Menton etc available in the neighbourhood I'd sooner pay the tax and live in one of those.

Lambylambs | 1 year ago

Use Apple Air tags or equivalent in your bike bags/boxes when flying. 

joe9090 replied to Lambylambs | 1 year ago

Read the whole article. 

steaders1 | 1 year ago

Easyjet taking no responsibility again. All of that flights luggage would have been bar coded and sent to a specific loading bay area so both they and Gatwick would now exactly where all the flights contents woud have been and it woud not take more than 30 minutes to locate it. I used to know a couple of Heathrow baggage handlers, or should I say baggage throwers? and they told me on several occasions that loads of stuff could "disappear" if they wanted it to, so I would suspect that it may have been knicked? Either way Gatwick's operators and Easyjet had a duty of care for the baggage and therefore they should just stick their hand up and admit they are at fault and compensate Nicolas now.

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