By Gregor Brown
Gewiss is back after 11 years away from the sport of cycling. In 2007, the Italian electronics company owned by the Bosatelli family will return to sponsor the Bianchi mountain bike team. With the convincing of Bianchi representative and cycling legend, Felice Gimondi, Gewiss has agreed to one year, with the option of extending into the 2008 season.
"With a very hushed voice, I say that the return of Gewiss in the world of cycling could be the first step to seeing this sponsor among the [road] professionals," said Gimondi, team manager of Gewiss-Bianchi from 1987 to 1989, to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The mountain biking is a young world, very dynamic, with a [more] diverse target than the [road] professionals," continued Gimondi. "The agreement also will be considered for 2008, the year of the Olympics, seeing how mountain biking will be in the Games."
Gimondi oversaw the Moreno Argentin's win in the 1987 Liège-Bastogne-Liège while wearing the rainbow jersey of world champion, and the Italian's end of season win in the Giro di Lombardia. The classics star raced for Gewiss-Bianchi for their fist three years in the sport, from 1987 to 1989, and then in his final year he returned to race under the Gewiss name, in 1994 as Gewiss-Ballan.
"It is great news to hear that Gewiss is remembering cycling," Argentin noted to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I believe the Bosatelli family has been a good presence for this sport, and it [cycling] has helped their name become recognized around the world."
"I closed my career with Gewiss in 1994," Argentin pointed out, remembering his win in the 1994 Flèche Wallonne. "The arrival of Gewiss represented a change in how the teams were managed, the sponsor bought [into cycling] all of their managerial aspects that were still unheard of."
Gewiss, based in Cenate Sotto (Bergamo), with 12 sites worldwide, did €329,000,000 in business for 2005 and will lend their name and money to the Bianchi team for 2007. The team will lose their French star, Julien Absalon, but has confirmed signings of Cristian Cominelli (Italy), Emil Lindgren (Sweden), Thomas Dietsch, Stephan Tempier (France), Martin Kraler (Austria), and Pia Sundstedt (Finland).