Australia's Olympic gold medallist Brad McGee was among riders in the Paris-Correze cycling race who went missing in central France on Friday after a prankster removed the signposts.

The signposts disappeared after the first breakaway group had passed by some 30 kilometres out from the finish line in the village of Saint-Amand-Montrond.

Local police had to search the roads of the Cher region after contact was lost with 80 cyclists who were some 10 minutes behind the leading breakaway group.

The lost group eventually crossed the finish line some 48 minutes and 20 seconds behind the winner - Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu - after having added an extra 14km to their journey.

McGee and countrymen Ben Day and Ashley Humbert were among the unlucky riders.

Organisers calculated the difference and put the official time of the unfortunate bunch at 16min 54sec off the pace.

"It annoys me, but that is part of the shocking things about riding," said race organiser Max Mamers.