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Pro cyclist forced to ride museum bike at gravel world championships after airline loses his Colnago

Colnago rushed the “still dirty” bike, raced only once at last year’s gravel worlds, across Italy to Australian Nathan Haas just hours before today’s race

A Colnago staff member, busy celebrating Tadej Pogačar’s third consecutive victory at Il Lombardia yesterday evening, was instead forced into an unexpected mad dash across northern Italy, after the bike set to be raced by Australian Nathan Haas at today’s UCI gravel world championships was lost in transit.

Haas, who raced for Cofidis, Katusha, Dimension Data, and Garmin during a 12-year pro career before switching to gravel full time at the start of 2022, was expecting to ride a ‘purple rain’, pink, and blue-coloured Colnago G3X during today’s second gravel worlds in the Veneto region, won by Matej Mohorič after the Slovenian overcame a late crash to secure a solo victory ahead of Florian Vermeersch and Connor Swift.

However, 34-year-old Haas – who spent the build-up to the worlds recovering from Covid – revealed on Instagram last night that his own race “almost didn’t happen” after his bike was “lost somewhere” at an airport and “still not found”.

Nathan Haas loses bike before gravel worlds (Instagram)

> Bike at Bedtime: Nathan Haas' Colnago G3-X Dopamine special

After realising that the bike was lost, the Australian sent a “last-minute SOS” to Colnago, who were in Bergamo at the time toasting yet another Pogačar triumph at the Race of the Falling Leaves.

Answering the Australian’s bat signal, the bike manufacturer’s digital manager, Gabriele Sirtori, hopped over to Colnago’s headquarters in Cambiago, just outside Milan, to pick up Haas’ bike from the 2022 gravel worlds, now stored in the company’s museum.

The bike, decked out in Australian green and gold and “still dirty” from its last outing on the rough roads of the Veneto’s vineyards, had only been ridden twice by Haas before being donated to the museum’s ‘gravel corner’ – once in training and then during last year’s inaugural UCI gravel world championships.

Sirtori then drove three hours and almost 300km across northern Italy, stopping at Schwalbe for new tyres and a bike shop to purchase pedals and gels on the way. Meanwhile, Haas was forced to source kit, bottles, and chain lube which had been packed alongside the missing bike.

Nathan Haas receives new bike before gravel world championships after original lost in airport (Nathan Haas, Instagram)

Posting a photo on Instagram of the clearly exhausted Sirtori and the 2022 Colnago, safely at the start of today’s race in Spresiano, a relieved Haas wrote: “After a huge effort my bike angels have arrived. You can see in his face this wasn’t an easy day, but his heart is so big he said it’s never a problem.”

The Australian continued: “I think this bike’s soul was destined to be ridden once more at a world championship, so let’s do this!”

Unfortunately, Haas’ hastily retrieved bike wasn’t enough to inspire the gravel specialist to the rainbow jersey today, with the recovering Australian unable to build on his 16th place last year and a strong 2023, as Mohorič stormed to the win.

> "Almost like the plane ran over it!": UCI Worlds Gran Fondo rider's Cervélo wrecked in flight transit, but Air Canada denies any responsibility

Haas’ pre-worlds debacle isn’t the first time this season that riders have been hindered by bike-misplacing airlines.

In July, Ryanair apologised to a triathlete after managing to ‘lose’ his bike twice on separate flights in different countries as it was left off aircraft in both Scotland and Ireland.

Tom Kennedy, from Stirling, was heading from Edinburgh to Nantes to take part in the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon at Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendée on France’s Atlantic coast. However, on arrival in France he discovered that the bike box containing his £9,000 bicycle, as well as other kit including his cycle helmet and his wetsuit, had not made it onto the flight from Edinburgh.

The airline said it would get the bike box to him in Nantes via a flight from Dublin – only for the bike box not to be loaded onto the flight after its journey there from Edinburgh.

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

A month later, after participating in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Scotland in August, Canadian rider Diane Bomans’ new 2023 Cervélo Soloist, 2020 Cervélo P-Series, and time trial helmet were severely damaged with several chips, cracks, and dents during the flight home with Air Canada. The airline, however, denied any responsibility for the damages.

And last year, Israel-Premier Tech rider Guillaume Boivin also had serious issues with Air Canada, with the company losing three of his bikes en route from Edmonton to Copenhagen for the start of the 2022 Tour de France.

Ryan joined road.cc 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 road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’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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8 comments

Avatar
brockhurst5 | 8 months ago
1 like

One year old hardly equates to a museum piece, even if it was stored in the museum!

Avatar
Rapha Nadal | 8 months ago
0 likes

Still gets to ride an Ekar equipped Colnago. My heart bleeds for the poor guy.

Avatar
Paul J | 8 months ago
5 likes

Opened this story. Disappointed to find out it wasn't about someone doing the UCI gravel WC on a bike with wooden rims and a pushrod front-derailleur 2x (and only 2x  3 ) gear setup.

Avatar
check12 | 8 months ago
0 likes

air tag in the bike bag or it's just amateur  ish 

Avatar
boardmanrider replied to check12 | 8 months ago
0 likes

Nope, I always drop an AirTag into my bikebag when I travel. While everyone else is checking texts email I'm using the 'Find my' app to check that my bike has arrived.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn | 8 months ago
0 likes

That colour scheme really does look like something from a museum!

Avatar
Sredlums replied to Dnnnnnn | 8 months ago
3 likes

Yes it does, and that's a good thing.

So much nicer than most modern bikes!

Avatar
ktache replied to Sredlums | 8 months ago
0 likes

It's got thru axles...

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