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Two teenagers sentenced to 18 months for Italian track bike theft at October’s UCI Track World Championships

The duo were part of a gang which raided the Italy team’s minivan at the Roubaix Worlds – Filippo Ganna’s gold Pinarello was among the 22 bikes stolen

On Friday a Lille court sentenced two teenagers to 18 months in prison for their role in the theft of 22 bikes belonging to the Italian national track team.

The men convicted for their part in the robbery, which took place during October’s UCI Track World Championships in Roubaix, were identified as Franko T., an 18 year old from France, and Valerijo H., a 19 year old Italian.

The duo were part of a gang which raided a minivan parked at the Italian team’s hotel on the night of 22 October, two days before the end of the Track Worlds. Despite security at the hotel, which was deliberately chosen by the Italian delegation for its monitored private car park, the thieves departed with equipment worth up to £500,000.

Four of the stolen bikes were special gold-painted Pinarellos ridden by the nation’s Olympic and World Championship winning men’s pursuit squad, fronted by Filippo Ganna, and valued at £25,000 each, while many featured titanium 3D-printed handlebars alone worth £8,500.

The haul was discovered by Romanian police less than a week later as part of a large-scale anti-drug bust. Police caught the criminals, who were in the process of selling the bikes, during a raid on 14 properties in Vrancea County which also uncovered stolen televisions, mobile phones, drugs and around £2,300 in cash. 20 people were initially arrested as part of this operation, and four were retained in custody.

According to Le Journal de Saône-et-Loire, French investigators were able to identify Franko T.’s fingerprints, while phone records were traced to two houses in Lille where police found packaging in the Italian squad’s azzurri colours, a van used in the burglary, and a coffee maker identical to one stolen from the team’s van. The defendants’ lawyers claimed they were “amateurs” and “scapegoats” who had been persuaded to unload and store the bikes by a more organised and professional criminal gang.

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Despite the theft, Italy were able to continue racing during the final weekend of the Roubaix worlds as the team’s remaining bikes were stored in the velodrome. Elia Viviani’s win in the elimination race, two days after the burglary, capped off a successful if disruptive week for the squad as they left Roubaix with four golds, three silvers and three bronzes.

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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belugabob | 2 years ago

Should have stayed at a Premier Inn - if they have them, in France - bikes in room, job done

Rome73 replied to belugabob | 2 years ago

Campanile - is the motel of choice in France. Or at least mine  1 Sometimes it can be rough sometimes surprisingly plush. 

Steve K replied to Rome73 | 2 years ago
Lukas wrote:

Campanile - is the motel of choice in France. Or at least mine  1 Sometimes it can be rough sometimes surprisingly plush. 

I stayed in the Campanile is Hull once (2008, I think). It was awful.

belugabob replied to Steve K | 2 years ago
1 like

Hull, or the Campanile?

FrankH | 2 years ago
1 like


...the thieves parted with equipment worth up to £500,000

Surely they departed. Doesn't anybody proofread these articles?

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