Bianchi bikes are turning 125 years old in 2010, but as the firm points out, it is not just about a bike. “Bianchi is a way of life, a way to move, a way of racing,” stated the company, as they prepare to mark the significant milestone throughout this year.
Edoardo Bianchi established his firm in the Via Nirone in Milan in 1885, and Bianchi still produce bikes at their factory in Treviglio. Over the years it has been associated with famous names including Fausto Coppi, Felice Gimondi, Moreno Argentin, Gianni Bugno and Marco Pantani.
On the road, the firm can count 12 Giro d'Italia, three Tour de France and 19 Milano-Sanremo victories amongst a long list of results achieved aboard their products.
Bianchi are best be known for the distinct “Celeste” shade of blue used on all their bikes, but they are also marked by a very high quality of material, technology and workmanship.
The technical qualities are only one aspect, though. “Another area of Bianchi's strength is the passion of all of the people who have been associated with Bianchi over the past years and until today,” said Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito. “Success begins with great people and we must recognise all of the people past and present who have made Bianchi a truly unique and powerful name in cycling."
The firm was bought in 1997 by Cycleurope A.B. Group, the Swedish company of the Grimaldi group, owned by Italian-Swedish millionaire Salvatore Grimaldi. “Bianchi is one of the finest bicycle brands in the world with a fantastic history. 50 years have gone by since Coppi passed away in 1960. It is now 125 years since Edoardo Bianchi founded the F.I.V.E. Bianchi company. I have been the very proud owner of Bianchi for 13 years, and I will continue to invest in Bianchi for a bright future development,” Grimaldi said.
The firm has sponsored or co-sponsored many teams over the years. It was the man sponsor of Team Bianchi featuring Jan Ullrich in 2003, and co-sponsored Liquigas in 2005 and 2006. This year it sponsors the Italian Professional Continental team Flaminia.
Bianchi is also active in mountain biking, and has sponsored its own team since 1991. It is owner and supplier to the TX Active-Bianchi MTB team. The company can claim the men's cross-country gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, through Julien Absalon, and 10 World Championships in it's off-road record.
President of the TX Active-Bianchi MTB team is Felice Gimondi, who rode Bianchi bikes on his way to becoming only the second rider to win all three Grand Tours. “I remember when Bianchi management gave me the chance to ride for such a prestigious name and wear the legendary Bianco-Celeste jersey. I was a child and I was very excited. Bianchi won my heart and that’s why I’ve spent my life in the name of Bianchi's passion.”