Bianchi MTB team’s official presentation took stage in late February at the Sala Viterbi at the Province of Bergamo, Italy. Back from a successful worldwide campaign, the historical Italian offroad team – changing its name from TX Active-Bianchi to i.idro DRAIN-Bianchi and supported also in 2014 by Italcementi – introduced its seven-rider 2014 roster, while unveiling schedules and goals both for the 2014 and the roadmap to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
Bianchi MTB team’s 23rd season will be the first one among élites for Gerhard Kerschbaumer, after the brilliant successes in the Under 23 ranks. Last year, the Italian talent clinched the World and European Team Relay titles and above all the rainbow jersey in the cross country race among U23 in Pietermaritzburg (South-Africa). Kerschbaumer celebrated the third success in a row at Italian championships as well in 2013. Gerhard already experienced some races among élites last season in the World Cup XCO, taking a 5th place in Vallnord in the process. Alexander Gehbauer rounds out the pair aiming to stand out in the XC events, under the lead of team manager Massimo Ghirotto. In 2013 Gehbauer achieved four victories, including the second consecutive triumph at Austrian national championships.
Leonardo Paez and Tony Longo will make up the duo for Gran Fondo and Marathon races. Last year the Colombian took 12 wins in Italy (giving an encore at Sellaronda Hero), Perù and Mexico, embellishing his showcase with a bronze medal at XCM Worlds in Kirchberg (Austria). Longo scored seven successes on his own. In 2014 he will wear the Italian champion’s “tricolore” jersey conquered in Milo (Sicily) last September. i.idro DRAIN-Bianchi Junior team is made up of three bikers, having Andrea Ferrero as Junior Manager: juniors Chiara Teocchi (CX Italian champion in January) and Giorgio Rossi (2013 CX and XC Italian champion) and cadet Katia Moro.
Bianchi equips the team with two top range carbon models: new Methanol 27.1 SL and Methanol 29 FS (full suspension). Both models are projected for extreme performance, featuring a rigid and ultralight full carbon frame, thanks to Bianchi unique technologies and XC race proven geometry. The Junior Team will ride on Methanol 27.1 SL bikes as well. “Our Bianchi MTB team represents the face of Bianchi in the off-road segment, worldwide. The team is incredibly important to develop our extreme racing carbon frames and it is thanks to our top riders that we can bring to the market some of the best products in the world. We also want to thank Felice and Massimo for their commitment and dedication to discover and grow talented riders”, Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito comments.
Team’s President Felice Gimondi explained his team’s goals for the new campaign: “It will be hard to repeat 2013 results. Kerschbaumer moved into élite series where it’s not easy to be competitive early. However, we rely on him and Gehbauer to make the Top-5 in some of the most important competitions: European champs, Worlds and World Cup. Paez and Longo’s presence, two among the best Marathon riders, confirms our team’s good level. We hope Paez will give an encore at the Worlds and Longo to take the same excellent results he scored last season. We’ll go on taking a special care of our Junior team: Teocchi and Moro are destined to compete alongside the best riders of the World, Rossi is born to win. As soon as the injury will be behind him, he will climb back to the top. He’s got an outstanding talent”.
i.idro DRAIN-Bianchi team will focus on the major MTB and cyclo-cross competitions worldwide, as well as on young talents’ development, doing it with its traditional environmental-friendly approach, in accordance with the brand philosophy of main sponsor i.idro DRAIN by Italcementi.
“Italcementi wanted to extend the partnership with Felice Gimondi’s team again this year. We look forward to experience a new season together in hopes of achieving further outstanding results. We feel right to support young riders competing with honesty and loyalty, the same key-values inspiring our company. Italcementi will go on supporting the Bianchi MTB team through the i.idro DRAIN brand, become name sponsor after having stood out on the team’s uniform in 2013. It’s an eco-friendly product capable of draining water, the suggested formulation for the construction of cycling lanes, perfectly match the cycling world” stated Lorenzo Colombo, Italcementi’s Italy Communication Manager.