Sport is certainly full of ups and downs, something the Italian track team learned during their domination at the UCI Track Championships. Following a week where the squadra azzurri won a slew of medals and rainbow jerseys, they woke up to shock. Their entire fleet of high-end Pinarellos had been stolen.
Bike theft is an increasingly common occurrence, but you’d think that the twenty Pinarello bikes belonging to the Italian track team might be a hard haul to flip at your local bike store.
The theft took place the same day that world time trial champion Filippo Ganna took bronze while his teammate Jonathan Milan won the silver in the individual pursuit. Milan rode his Pinarello to second place, edged out by the moustache king, Ashton Lambie. The world time trial champion’s bronze and Milan’s silver followed the men’s team pursuit victory, a pair of wins in women’s elimination and scratch, and a silver in the women’s team pursuit.
The Italian bikes are estimated to be worth over $20,000 each. Some of the bikes came with unique, titanium 3D-printed handlebars. If that wasn’t enough, a few of the machines were painted gold in honour of victories at the Olympics. These bikes were anything but ordinary, and easily identifiable by anyone who followed the sport.
Following the theft, the local police from Roubaix began an investigation. The police were sure the pro cycling bikes had been stolen by pro cycling thieves–the bikes had been locked and guarded.
Sure enough, on Friday, the bikes were spotted by Romanian police officers. The cops had busted a drug trafficking network in Romania. The dealers were moving large quantities of cocaine and hashish, and were found to have also 22 remarkable machines: the stolen Pinarellos. The value of the bikes was over $1 million.
What the thieves had planned to do with the bikes is unclear. They are hardly something you could sell at your local bike shop, or, anyone in cycling for that matter. If you showed up on your local track on Ganna’s golden Pinarello, you’d have so much attention it wouldn’t be long before police showed up at your door. Imagine making one of the pursuit bikes your commuter fixie? You’d have more heat than Robert De Niro in, well, Heat.
Check out the video below from the Romanian police department of the recovered goods: