Bikes from the famous Italian bike brand, soon to be seen ridden by Jan Ullrich and his team-mates in the Tour de France, could be built abroad, claims a letter said to be from workers at the Bianchi factory in Treviglio. In a heartfelt open letter from the CGIL union, the workers are said to be asking Cycleurope to ditch any idea of shifting production away from Italy

Keep Bianchi production in Italy, urges letter from union

If Cycleurope A.B., the Swedish holding company of the Grimaldi Group, did shift some – or all – production away from Italy, they would join Look Bicycles who recently transferred their production of carbon-fibre frames and forks to Tunisia.

Bianchi has a 14 percent share of the Italian bicycle market, with half its output exported. It sells 450 000 bikes a year to 68 different countries.

Bianchi is marketed and sold by Cycleurope Italia with Bianchi International controlling the Bianchi trademark.

Cycleurope Italia’s MD is Davide Brambilla and he is also the vice-president of Bianchi International. Bianchi was founded in 1895 by Edoardo Bianchi, a bike shop owner of Milan. It was acquired in 1997 by the Swedish group Cycleurope AB, headed by Tony Grimaldi.

There’s no news from Cycleurope on its plans to switch production but Bianchi’s workers are said to be up in arms:

"We believe riders all over the world will mourn the passing of this great brand. But it does not have to be this way," said the open letter, claimed to be from Bianchi workers, and sent by the CGIL Lombardia union.

Here’s the rest of the letter:

We believe that one of the most important parts of the bicycle is the invisible story written on the back of the down-tube decal. To read it, eyes are not enough. You also need your heart.

A brand is not only a distinctive ensign, it is the heritage of a common history, it is the result of the hard work and commitment of all those who have worked to build it to greatness. To create products worthy of a great brand, people must work with their hands and their minds, and with their hearts too. So, we believe, it is not possible to remove a brand from its country, from the human landscape that created it. The Cycleurope group has now made a decision that will wrench the Bianchi brand from its country. From its people. The relocation of Bianchi production from Italy will make the managers of other companies in the Cycleurope group happy. After all, Bianchi may be the eternal envy of those who were never able to create a legendary brand like the golden eagle on its field of celeste. However, we are certain that Bianchi customers will be not happy. When you buy a Bianchi, you are not only buying a bicycle. When you decide to ride a Bianchi you are also making a commitment to the shared responsibility of representing with pride the bike used by Coppi, Gimondi, Argentin, Bugno and Pantani to write the milestones of cycling history. The bicycle built by Italian hands, the same hands that turn red with applause for the hero who challenges the Stelvio climb. That’s why we Italians make bikes without equal in the world, because we look at the races with special eyes. The same eyes of the racer who can see his entire life in one race. This may be the reason why Bianchi bicycles made in Italy are legendary, and why riders all over the world try to become a little bit “more Italian” by riding a Specialissima made in Treviglio.

If Cycleurope doesn’t change its decision, all this will be over. The Bianchi legend, and the proud Bianchi brand, will become only dust and useless history.

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