The Wilier Triestina bike brand has confirmed it will continue to sponsor the Wilier Triestina-Southeast team in 2017, with the aim of becoming the number-one ranked Professional Continental team in Italy and riding two Grand Tours next season.
Wilier Triestina agreed to become a title sponsor before this year's Giro d'Italia, with the Tuscan-based team swapping its grey colours for a more modern red, yellow and black kit.
The team's roster is unlikely to change dramatically for 2017 with sprinter Jakub Mareczko and Filippo Pozzato again set to lead the team. Also under contract is Manuele Belletti, with Trofeo Laigueglia winner Andrea Fedi likely to stay after making a recovery from a knee injury.
The team has won 12 races so far in 2016 and hopes to finish the season strongly as the Italian teams fight for points in the Coppa Italia ranking to secure the highly-sought wildcard invitation to the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia in 2017. The team is managed by Angelo Citracca, with Luca Scinto as leading directeur sportif.
Wilier-Southeast missed out on success at the Giro d'Italia, with Mareczko quitting early due to illness. Pozzato went close to victory with a late attack on Cassano d'Adda but was caught and passed by eventual winner Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling). After taking a break in July, both have bounced back in the second half of the season. Mareczko won three stages at the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China and Pozzato is riding strongly in the hope of securing a place in the Italian national squad for the World Championships road race in Qatar.
Wilier Triestina is one of the historic Italian bike brands and has undergone a renaissance in recent years thanks to the business acumen of the Gastaldello family. The Wilier team won the Giro d'Italia thanks to Fiorenzo Magni in 1948 and the Tour of Flanders in 1951. The company sells 37,000 road and mountain bikes per year, with turnover a reported 50 million Euro.
The Wilier-Southeast team hopes to take over from Lampre-Merida as Italy's most well known team after Chinese company TJ Sport Consultation took over the team and promised to transform it into the first ever Chinese WorldTour team.
"Our mission is to continue show off the quality of the Italian cycling around the world, both Italian riders and the Italian cycling industry," said Andrea Gastaldello. "We believe that an Italian project like ours can reach important goals, including becoming one of the most-liked brands amongst the tifosi. And cycling fans."