Italian bike manufacturer Bianchi has signed a one-year deal - with option for a second - with the Androni Giocattoli team to supply the new Oltre model in 2011.
The agreement was finalised in Bianchi's historical factory in Treviglio, Bergamo, late last week, as Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito met with Androni Giocattoli general manager Gianni Savio.
Androni Giocattoli sports director Marco Bellini and the legendary Felice Gimondi plus Bianchi product manager Angelo Lecchi were also in attendance (pictured right).
"We are proud of this new partnership for 2011 with Gianni Savio and Marco Bellini," said Ippolito. "They have a long and successful history in professional cycling and we look forward to a prosperous relationship.
"We believe the team will help us to develop and improve our products through close collaboration with Bianchi Product Managers and Engineers. The riders, including talented Francesco Ginanni, will be provided with the new Oltre model, the flagship of the HoC collection, and we are very happy they will be the first to use this new frame."
Bianchi has been sponsoring the Italian Pro Continental Ceramica Flaminia squad for the past two seasons, having also supplied bikes to teams such as Alessio, Barloworld and Liquigas in the past.
Savio, whose team has been riding Guerciotti bikes for several seasons was evidently pleased with the new agreement: "Bianchi is definitely one of the most prestigious brands in the sport. When you think of Bianchi your mind goes to Fausto Coppi, Felice Gimondi and Marco Pantani, to name a few. That's why it's a privilege for our team to ride the Celeste bikes and the Oltre model in particular."