VN ticker: Italian track team bikes stolen, Van Aert-Nuyens legal battle rumbles on, Sobrero joins BikeExchange

Here's the news making headlines for Saturday, October 23.

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

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Italian team suffers theft of huge haul of custom bikes at track world championships

The Italian national team has suffered the theft of 20 bikes from a vehicle parked outside their hotel in Lille while attending the track world championships.

The bikes – including the golden Pinarellos ridden by pursuit team Filippo Ganna, Liam Bertazzo, Jonathan Milan, and Simone Consonni – have been valued at several hundred thousand euros. Each of the four pursuit riders’ bikes is valued at up to €30,000, with the custom printed handlebars alone said to be worth as much as €15,000

The theft occurred Friday night from a team vehicle that was due to return to Italy. Early police investigations suggest the theft was carried out by professionals who knew which van to target.

“They were well organized,” head of the Italian delegation Roberto Amadio told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We knew of the difficulty, from this point of view, of the transfer and for this reason we chose to stay in a hotel with private and controlled parking even at the cost of more demanding daily journeys.”

Security officials told AFP that the team had been advised against removing bikes from the velodrome ahead of time.

“They neglected the recommendation to leave the bikes until the departure in the velodrome,” said Yannick Gomez, deputy director of the Departmental Directorate of Public Security. Gomez added that the vehicle where the bikes were kept was “without
surveillance for many hours.”

The bikes of those members of the Italian team still to race this weekend were not part of the theft after being left in the Roubaix velodrome overnight.

Pinarello has launched a direct appeal for information.

“We please ask our community of followers and fans to report to if you see any of these bikes being sold online or around,” read the brand’s social media post.

Legal battle between Wout van Aert and Nick Nuyens rumbles on: Nuyens demands €1.1 million

The long legal dispute between Wout van Aert and his former manager Nick Nuyens isn’t done yet.

Het Laatste Nieuws reports that Nuyens has now demanded €1.1 million from van Aert after the Belgian ace was ordered to pay €662,000 ($806,000) for a breach of contract earlier this year.

The argument stems from van Aert breaking his contract with Verandas Willems-Crelan in 2018 in order to join Jumbo-Visma the following season.

The latest twist in the long-running saga comes now that Nuyens claims the severance payment of €662,000 represents only van Aert’s fixed salary and premiums. Nuyens is arguing that the figure determined by the courts this June did not allow for start and prize monies that van Aert earned through his cyclocross racing.

Both van Aert and Nuyens are now both appealing against the decision that was handed down this summer, albeit for entirely different reasons.

Italian ITT champ Matteo Sobrero joins BikeExchange

Matteo Sobrero has signed for BikeExchange in a two-year deal.

Sobrero moves to the Aussie team after spending the past year with Astana-Premier Tech, where he won the Italian national time trial championships and placed fourth in the final TT of the Giro d’Italia.

“Matteo is still young, and we are going to support him in the best way possible to optimize his performances and continue his development,” said team manager Brent Copeland. “Matteo’s addition fits into a perfect area of the team where we were looking at investing in and with his inclusion, we are sure that bringing him to the team will be a very important reinforcement for us for the next seasons.”

Team BikeExchange has been quiet on the transfer market in recent months, with Sobrero the only new signing so far announced by the long-running Australian team.

“From the outside I have always seen GreenEdge Cycling as a solid team, and to be able to join it in this moment of my career, I strongly believe this is a good opportunity for me,” Sobrero said. “This is also because they have always been competitive in time trials therefore, I truly believe it is a good fit for me and for my characteristics.”

“The team is also investing in young riders, and it always has done. This is an important moment of my career, and I am sure it’s the right moment to join Team BikeExchange. I can’t wait to begin this new chapter of my career.”

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