Massimo Fregonese thought he was going to surprise Fi’zi:k's production workers with a Simoni-signed maglia rosa (the pink, Giro d'Italia equivalent of the yellow jersey) but instead it was he who was caught blushing: the workers greeted him in pink artist's smocks...

Flushed pink by success, saddle makers surprise Fi’zi:k’s marketing director

Fi’zi:k’s marketing director a few day’s off after Gilberto Simoni’s victory in the Giro d’Italia, a victory said to be have been helped by his use of the new Arione saddle, and on his return to work found the entire Fi’zi:k production staff wearing pink artist’s smocks, instead of their standard green aprons.

The pink represented both pride and the maglia rosa.

“Communication between marketing and the production team is frequent and intimate," said Fregonese.

"We’ve been working on the Arione for nearly two years and everyone has had a hand in the evolution of the Fi’zi:k brand throughout the last seven years.

“I believe we have the most dedicated group in the industry – like a family. In a way the evolution of our saddles has been like raising a child.

“And like a child, all family members play a role and have an impact on the child’s development –– and there’s a great sense of responsibility and pride here. That’s the feeling among the Fi’zi:k production team.”

Simoni was a key player in the development of the new road saddle, participating in computerized pressure distribution tests to help determine the best shape and saddle size.

He first started using prototype Arione’s in the Giro last year. Tommaso Bernardi, Fi’zi:k’s product development manager, would make incremental changes to the prototype saddles in order to create an exact fit for Simoni depending on the stage topography. The saddle would then be handed off to Bernardi’s wife, Daniela, Fi’zi:k’s production line manager, who would guide the saddle through the production process.

In 2003, Simoni rode an appropiately pink, by now perfected, Arione throughout the Giro.

The new Arione will be officially launched to bike press in July at the UCI World Cycling Centre during the Fi’zi:k-sponsored B World Championships, will be introduced to the trade at the 2003 Interbike show, and will arrive on the market in October.

The introductory model with a carbon reinforced shell and ti rails, has a targeted weight of 210 grams and a £70+ suggested retail price. It will feature a two-tone black cover and will also be marked with metal die-cut rear logo cap.

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