Romanian police have recovered 21 of the 22 Italian national team bikes stolen from a hotel car park while the team was competing at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Roubaix last weekend.
The authorities initially ordered an action to "combat trafficking and illicit use of high-risk drugs and to identify stolen goods by members of the criminal group". Upon raiding 14 properties in Vrancea County, police found the Italian team's bikes, as well as mobile phones, drugs and around £5,000 worth of cash.
Filippo Ganna's gold painted Pinarello was one of the bikes seen in police pictures. The team's minibus, ready to return the bikes worth an estimated £500,000 to Italy, was raided by thieves on Friday evening.
Along with Ganna's machine, fellow newly-crowned team pursuit world champions Liam Bertazzo, Jonathan Milan and Simone Consonni's bikes, each worth £25,000 and featuring a titanium 3D-printed handlebar alone worth £8,500, were taken.
Police said they believed the theft was a professional operation undertaken by a gang who knew which van to break into, despite security at the hotel. The head of the Italian delegation Roberto Amadio said the team feared for their security before the trip, so opted for a hotel with a private, monitored car park.
"Evidently, even these measures didn't stop the perpetrators," Amadio told La Gazzetta dello Sport after the break in.
Romanian police confirmed that four people remain in custody and will appear at Vrancea Court with a proposal for pre-trial detention.
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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.
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