talian company Bianchi is possibly the world’s oldest bicycle-making company still in existence, having been founded by Edoardo Bianchi, a 21-year-old medical instrument maker, in Milan in 1885. From the very beginning, it has been at the forefront of a number of innovations in the cycling world, including the use of equal-sized wheels with pneumatic rubber tyres and front wheel caliper brakes.
Bianchi’s involvement with the sponsorship of professional riders began with Giovanni Tommasello, the winner of the Grand Prix de Paris sprint competition in 1899, and in 1950 it began its relationship with the legendary Italian Tour de France winner Fausto Coppi. More recent riders to be associated with the company include Mario Cipollini, Gianni Bugno, Laurent Fignon, Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich.
Until 2007, Bianchi was a co-sponsor of UCI ProTour team Liquigas. From 2012, Bianchi has been co-sponsor and bike supplier to the professional road cycling teams Vacansoleil-DCM and Androni Giocattoli, both of which use the company’s Oltre bike. Bianchi is also owner of the TX Active-Bianchi MTB team that competes with the MTB Methanol 29SL and Methanol SL2.
In total, road riders on board Bianchi’s signature celeste-painted bikes have won 17 Grand Tours, including 12 Giro d’Italias, plus all the Ardennes classics, and four World Championships. On the track, Bianchi riders have won six world championship titles. The company has also experienced success in mountain biking – Julien Absalon won cross country gold at the 2004 Olympics on a Bianchi.