The TX Active-Bianchi mountain bike team was presented at Lombardia Region's headquarters on Wednesday in Milan, Italy. The team, run by Felice Gimondi, is celebrating its 20th year of involvement in mountain biking.
Started in 1991, the Bianchi mountain bike team can claim successes like Julien Absalon's Olympic gold medal in 2004.
Looking to the present, 25-year-old Frenchman Stephane Tempier, multiple-time Italian champion Cristian Cominelli and Portuguese racer Ricardo Marinheiro return with the squad. Tempier was ranked 12th in the world by the UCI for 2010.
New signings include Tony Longo and the youngster Gerhard Kerschbaumer, both from Italy. Kerschbaumer is considered one of the most promising Italian racers after he won world, European and Italian junior championship titles in 2009.
"We have built up a truly strong team," said Gimondi. "We'll mainly focus on cross country races after signing Longo and Kerschbaumer. We are proud to have Gerhard in our roster as he is definitely the future of the Italian mountain bike movement."
The elite team will be managed by former professional rider Massimo Ghirotto.
"Alongside the elite team we will continue nurturing our young talents, without seeking success at any cost, according to our objectives and values," said Gimondi.
The junior development team, run by Andrea Ferrero, includes cadets Federico Barri (2010 Italian Champion), Cristian Boffelli, Chiara Teocchi, Giorgio Rossi (2011 Italian 'Cross Champion) and Oscar Vairetti.
"The Lombardy-based TX Active-Bianchi team... has always valued loyalty, honesty and fair play in all sports events," said Italcementi Communication Manager Lorenzo Colombo.
"We are confident that even in 2011, one year from the London Olympics, the TX Active-Bianchi team will keep Italy's flag flying."
The team will race Bianchi Methanol SL and SX mountain bikes. Bianchi's CEO Bob Ippolito said the riders' feedback and experience has played an important role in product and technology development.