Road to Badlands 2022

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Riders from all over the world are preparing for Badlands, one of the most famous long distance unsupported races in the Spanish desert.
We put together a team of four riders to compete, explore or just take a “sadistic holiday” in this already mythical race.
Scroll down to get to know our friends Taylor Phinney, Luisa Werner, Sophie Jail and Davide Belfiore.





Since retiring as a professional cyclist in 2019 Taylor Phinney, laid-back and soft-spoken, has combined the experience of his ten very intense and varied years as a pro with his creativity and broader interest in culture to develop what we think are some of the most interesting ideas in the “industry”.


Hi Taylor!

Hi Lodovico!

So first question is really can you just please tell us about how the idea came about for geometry and build of the custom Cinelli Nemo Gravel we just sent out to you?

There are a couple of directions I could take answering this question…

Tell us both!

Well firstly over the last 5-6 years I have started seeing the bicycle as an explorative tool, whilst when I started riding it was a tool for success and for winning. For me the relationship with the bike as a piece of equipment now is: where can it take me AND where can I take it. I like the concept of underbiking i.e. taking a bike that is not technically really up to the terrain you’re riding on. I like to find a balance between how far I can push the bike, how deep into some weird trail I can go before either the bike explodes or I mentally explode.


And secondly, from a technical point of view I believe that gravel cycling as we know it today is essentially a continuation of late 80s early 90s mountain bikes. Those bikes were also totally rigid and had a similar tyre profile. But one thing I think is missing or wrong about the current gravel market is that for whatever reason it seems that people just want to make road bikes with big tyres. That’s fine if you want to ride a road bike with big tyres… but when I think of doing a really long adventure or mixed terrain ride I want to be comfortable and a lot of that comfort stems from my upper body position, how straight is my back, how open are my shoulders… For open terrain and steep trails but even asphalt you need to be able to be dynamic, and I find that the strictly road position, very bent over and very far over the front wheel is very unhealthy for my back – with which I have a lot of problems because I’m a giant! – but also from a safety point of view. The further back you are, the easier it is to save the bike if you lose the front wheel. So to cut a long story short the geometry I worked on with the Cinelli technical office was less of a performance fit than your standard model and something closer to an 80s-90s MTB geometry. This is the second bike I’ve tried to develop this idea on and the first custom bike I’ve ever had in entire cycling career despite many promises from previous sponsors! All I ever wanted my whole pro career was a custom frame. It’s only taken about 3 years of not being a pro to have it…

And how does it ride?

Not perfect, but pretty close! [Laughs] I’ve been working on different setups these last few weeks. I’ve ridden it as a mullet bike, with 700c wheel at the front at 650b at the back, I’ve tried a few different handlebars…

Are you ready for Badlands?

To be honest riding Badlands was Davide’s [Cinelli’s trade marketing manager – ED] idea and I just said yeah sure. Only last week I looked at some videos and though oh f**k what have I got myself into… I’m going to take it like a kind of sadistic vacation: 4 or 5 days with no zoom calls no business to attend to. All you have to do is ride your bike and take care of your contact points. It’s total simplicity: stay alive and stay happy.

Haha sounds like a great holiday! One more question: I saw the poster you put out for your social ride with Cinelli this weekend (28/08) in Girona and I noticed that the most prominent piece of information on it (and on other posters you have made in the past for rides) was “100% ego-less ride”. When I read that myself personally as well as others in the office that saw it were really excited, to us it felt like exactly the kind of message we’d like about a ride we’d go on. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to use this description of your rides?

I think it’s important to let people know up front when they’re coming to any kind of group ride what the vibe is going to be. The reason I write it is because there’s something about men mounting their bicycle and being around other men that makes them feel like they need prove themselves. There can often be this kind of energy where people become immediately competitive because they assume others there are being competitive with them. And it’s that kind of energy that really pushed me away from the road cycling environment. To me it felt like people weren’t connecting with each other but isolating themselves. That’s not the purpose of the bike for me. So I try to make it really clear from the start that this competitive mentality isn’t really welcome and that the people who come to the ride won’t be subject to that.






After a brief sojourn as a semi-professional cyclist and, before that, a budding career as an elite rower, last year Luisa Werner began exploring a new kind of cycling: endurance races. This very quickly led to competitive success with victories at prestigious races such as the Italy Divide and Three Peaks. But competition is only a very small part of Luisa Werner’s interest in cycling!


Hi Luisa!

Hi Lodovico!

So, I wondered if you could begin by telling us how you first got involved in cycling?

Yes sure! So when I was younger I was a competitive rower, representing Germany at a U23 level. I started riding a road bike, like a lot of rowers and other athletes as a way of helping to build endurance. But soon enough the bike became about going out on long day rides, doing bikepacking trips using Airbnb in its early days… This eventually led to me stopping my rowing career and signing with a small semi-professional German cycling team.

How was your experience as a professional cyclist?

To be honest whilst I loved being with the girls and meeting other athletes I never felt comfortable, was often afraid of crashing and pretty quickly discovered that the peloton was not the side of cycling I’m interested in exploring. I rode for the team for just 1.5 years.

And after this you discovered endurance/bikepacking races?

About two years ago I discovered these kinds of races, yes and in September 2021 I rode my first one.

What attracted you about this format of cycling compared to your experiences as a professional?

Basically at an endurance race nobody goes home a loser. It’s not about position and ranking but adventure and the journey. People have a different spirit. You don’t feel competitiveness in the atmosphere, you feel people doing it for themselves and for the memories that will be created.

You’ve been very successful though, from a competitive point of view, from the very start in these races. What is your attitude towards winning and your objectives for Badlands?

The first priority for me is always to race against myself, not the others, because if do my best that will produce the best ranking. But like I said for me it’s not just a race but an opportunity to talk to the riders around me and to be pushed by them to try to do new things. In fact it’s the atmosphere created by the other riders that put me in the spirit of going fast.

Ok! Last question: you are of course going to be riding the Cinelli Zydeco King gravel bike for the race but are there any other special technical details that you have prepared for the race and that you are excited about using?

Well I am very excited about my mattress (laughs), the Thermarest Neoair X-Lite which I have used in every race over the last two years… And also a new 3 liter bladder bag made by Decathlon that can be placed under my aero-bar extensions to allow me to carry more water…






Sophie Jail is a nomadic French adventurer with a passion for bikepacking and restoring vintage cars and mopeds. After a long “informal” history with bikes, as a commuter and occasional summer tourer, two years ago she bought her first serious bicycle and began properly bikepacking across the European summer.


Hi Sophie!

Hi Lodovico!

So, last time we spoke you told me that only last year you rode your first endurance race? How did this come about?

Well basically I had been suffering from some health problems and had been also using long-distance bikepacking as rehabilitation and “reappropriation” of my body. Signing up for an endurance race was a logical next step.

And how did it go?

I had studied the course before and prepared myself to try to finish it in about six days. I ended up finishing it in three days and a few hours. I was shocked to discover I could do this! To me it was amazing to discover what I was capable of, how the body could find ways to keep going, to handle pain, to use adrenaline. I was so proud and happy to achieve this. I didn’t care if I was the first one or last one over the line. I had discovered what I wanted to discover in a race against my body.

Had you any previous experience in competitive cycling?

No. In fact I have no previous experience in any kind of competitive sport. I never thought I was good at anything before this!

And how did you end up signing up to ride Badlands?

I actually decided during a ride, the Women’s Komoot Torino-Nice Rally, a great women’s only bikepacking ride. On one climb I started riding together with another girl, Sara, and we were really racing, going up fast, and at the top of the climb we said to each other we have to go do a race together and to us, because we both love gravel, Badlands seemed like the perfect race. At the time I actually had only ever done one endurance race so I was pretty scared by the idea. But now I have some more experience and I’m not scared!

What is your objective for Badlands?

To go as fast as I can!

So for you it’s a competition?

It’s not a competition against others, just an opportunity to do my best.

Last question: you have chosen to ride the carbon fiber Cinelli Zydeco King frame for the race… could you tell me a little bit about how you chose your exact setup for the bike?

Well, I’m a bit of a gearhead so I am very interested in lightweight solutions and I will try to go as light as possible because of the heat but at the same time I don’t want to run the risk of not being able to finish the race because my bag got ripped when I fell or I don’t have enough spare tubes… so really my build is all about striking a balance between lightweight solutions and neutralizing risk as for me my absolute first priority is finishing!






Davide Belfiore, trade marketing manager of Cinelli, is our own endurance cycling guru. He has been riding his bike in extraordinary and unusual ways ever since we’ve known him. Last year he rode Badlands, broke his sternum and tore his rotator cuff and had to retire after 270km. This year he is going back with Taylor, Luisa and Sophie to resolve some unfinished business!


Davide, tell me about your history as a cyclist?

I grew up in Brianza and always rode my bike competitively, like so many other kids in the area. In 2002 I became a professional cyclist with the Sud Tirol team, I rode 3 seasons as a professional but to be honest the peloton was not a place I felt comfortable in during those years for many reasons that people now understand better!

And after that?

After that I hated the bike for quite a while and kept my distance… When I finally got back into cycling it was through Triathlon, where I found a much nicer atmosphere. There I was also able to compete at a high level and competed twice at 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater where I was the top Italian finisher. But in general, since stopping being a professional I’ve always had an approach to cycling which kept its distance from competition.

When did you start riding endurance races?

Only about three years ago, but that kind of cycling has always attracted me. Before I even knew about these kinds of races I was trying to invent them for myself. For example the last time I rode a triathlon, four years ago, the race was in Puglia so I decided to ride to the race from Cinelli. I left on Tuesday, rode 300km a day, arrived on Friday evening and raced the triathlon on Saturday…

What are you attracted to in endurance racing?

What I really enjoy is the experience of losing all the comforts of your regular life: your house, social media… Nothing is no longer in your possession other than the essentials: air, land, sky, your fatigue and your dreams. Riding these races is like a dream in which I carry most cherished memories with me. And this way of being produces visions for me, and ideas for life. It’s a kind of spiritual pursuit!

Follow our instagram profile @cinelli_official to stay updated!

Check out the King Zydeco and the Nemo Gravel that the riders will use to tame the desert!

Baroncini on the top of the world!

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LEUVEN (BEL): After the Giro d’Italia, the World Championship. 2021 is a fantastic season for Team Colpack Ballan so far.
Filippo Baroncini stormed away from his rivals as the race exploded in the final stages and arrived solo at the finish line.
The crucial move summed up power, lucidity, strategy and heart. After that, the final win was secured.
Michele Gazzoli‘s fourth place completed this day to remember.

These are the words of the new World Champion: “It’s a dream. The perfect end to a nervous day, for me and for all my teammates. I’ve been dreaming of this victory all my life. My attack was planned and everything went according to plan. I am speechless. After the breakaway, all I thought about was pushing, pushing, pushing and winning this game. Fortunately, everything went well.”

Filippo Baroncini is 21 years old, he is from Massa Lombarda, among the successes of this season the Italian time trial title, the silver medal at the European Championships, and a stage victory at the Giro U23.

Special mention also for Manuel OioliASD Bustese Olonia athlete, who achieved a very good seventh place in the World Championship Junior category, riding his Superstar.

Silver Pressure!

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Last Saturday, September 11, Filippo Baroncini got a silver medal in the blue jersey at the European Road Under 23 Championships that took place in Trento.
The rider from Team Colpack Ballan was beaten by few centimeters by the Belgian Thibaut Nys, son of art, and preceded the former teammate Juan Ayuso.

The rider was already looking forward to a great success as confirmed by himself:
“I dreamed of this jersey and I came close to it, too bad. In the sprint I was first out of the last corner, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. My opponent was faster. We did everything we could as a team, I hope this medal repays them for all their efforts”.
Baroncini added: “Zana did well to try to sprint in the final kilometers, maybe it would have worked as a surprise. In any case, we’ll try again at the World Championships.”

Baroncini’s result is the peak, at least up to this moment, of a season of great successes for the riders of Team Colpack Ballan, who form an explosive combination with Pressure, top of the range in high module carbon of the Cinelli racing family with totally integrated cable routing and low vertical rear stays, for maximum aerodynamics and greater overall frame stiffness.

Huge statifaction for Rastelli

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Sunday 25 July has been a triumphal day for Team Colpack Ballan on the Monte Grappa, having scored a podium hat-trick with Luca RastelliMattia Petrucci and Alessio Martinelli at the end of a 108 km race.

For Rastelli, and for his Pressure Team Limited, it was the first success of the season, the 30th for the team. The rider from Cremona was about to win a month ago, in Pessano Roncola, when he crashed and broke his teeth.

“Since Saturday I was feeling good – said the winner- and I was only thinking about having a good race. After the crash, I couldn’t wait to get back on the bike as soon as possible.
I tackled the climb at my own pace, with regularity. Initially I wasn’t brilliant. On the way up, I took advantage of a relaxation in the group and went on the attack with 3 km to go. I kept a good gap and I thank my teammates who worked behind me for that. It’s a great joy after a very complicated period”.

The day before, Saturday, in OvadaMattia Petrucci showed his good shape getting his second seasonal win.

Petrucci commented on the victory with these words: “Today we have disputed a hard race, an elimination race with 30 arrived on 150 departed. In the first kilometers, the usual breakaway started. After 50 km we were out in 6.
BaronciniMartinelli, and I were in the lead. I knew I could hold on for 25 km solo, so I attacked, making the difference and arriving with 50″ of advantage”.

U23 Italian TT Champion

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On Saturday, June 26th Team Colpack Ballan conquered the Italian U23 Time Trial title with Filippo Baroncini. The rider from Romagna, born in 2000, has imposed himself at the end of a very fast run at almost 52 km/h of average speed.
Baroncini, at his 2nd success of the season, covered in fact the 19 kilometers of the route in 22′:03″.
The race took place on a flat route and was suitable for a powerful man like Baroncini, who a few weeks ago had also won the stage of the Giro U23 time trial.

Here the words of the winner: “I’m happy. I needed this victory after the second place in the National in-line Championship last week. I said I would take revenge and I kept my word”.
About the race: “I started in the lead and didn’t do many math. In an individual race like this, you can’t hide and I gave everything I had. I believe this success is the result of determination and grit.”

The approach to this result has been long: “Since last year I’ve been working a lot on the time trial bike and in the last days I’ve always gone out only with it. We improved all the details and the results have arrived. Now I’ll rest a bit and I dream of being called up for the national team in the specialty trials. Dreaming doesn’t cost anything”.

But that’s not all, Sunday for Baroncini came the second victory in two days in the Pessano-Roncola, a classic race with uphill arrival.
For Baronicini this is the 3rd victory of the season, the first with a road bike of 2021, in a race that has seen unlucky protagonist Luca Rastelli, who has been involved in a crash with one kilometer to go. For him a facial trauma and various contusions.
We wish him a speedy recovery.
Come on Luca, we are waiting for you back on the saddle!

Ayuso wins the Giro d’Italia Giovani U23

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The Team Colpack Ballan wins the Giro d’Italia Under 23 with Juan Ayuso. It is an important first time for the fellowship of the Team Manager Antonio Bevilacqua and President Beppe Colleoni. This is the 23rd victory of the season and the 9th for Ayuso.

These are the first words of the winner: “It was the first time I participated in a stage race so long and of such a high level. I’m happy because I felt good for all 10 days. It was a great experience for me. Now I’m waiting for the transition to professionalism (debut at the Giro dell’Appennino), but I have to thank the Colpack Ballan family that welcomed me in Almè and treated me like a son, and my family that came to Italy to cheer me”.
Ayuso tells other details about the race: “The most difficult moment? Definitely the time trial when my saddle dropped. I understood that it was done after the 7th stage”.

First of the Italians with his 6th place Alessandro Verre.  “Finally the Giro is over, even if I still feel good. Maybe from tomorrow I will feel the fatigue, but today I am adrenaline. For me it was a particular Giro, which gave us many emotions. I understood many things and now I feel like a more mature rider. I have to say that I enjoyed it too.”

Ayuso and his teammates dominated the pink race and highlighted the winning characteristics of the different Cinelli bikes they used. The Pressure for the sprinters, thanks to its aerodynamic shape and stiffness, and the Superstar, appreciated by the GC riders for its lightness and reactivity, in a very special Peso Piuma version, with a lightened rear carriage, extra-large pulley and super-light custom paintwork.

After the victory, a wonderful party at the headquarters of Team Colpack Ballan to celebrate this great triumph, which enters by right in the trophy cabinet of the most beautiful trophies in the history of Cinelli.
Besides the riders, the management and the main sponsors, also the President of the Italian Cycling Federation Cordiano Dagnoni and the Vice President Norma Gimondi joined the celebrations.
An unforgettable day!


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On Sunday 16th May, Team Colpack Ballan obtained an exciting double win with Davide Boscaro, first, and Davide Persico, second, in the Trofeo Gp Sportivi Sestesi sprint.

“It’s been a great race for us, we gained the 15th victory of the season. – explained the Team Manager Antonio Bevilacqua – Everybody has raced well, stitching the breakaway. In the last 5 km, we took the lead of the race with authority. The boys have been fantastic and should be mentioned: Samuel Quaranta, Gidas Umbri, Francesco Della Lunga, Luca Rastelli“.

The season begins!

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An excellent start of the Tokyo Olympics season for triathlete Dmitry Polyanskiy, who took a solid second place at the Russian Duathlon Sprint Championships last weekend. An encouraging result, ahead of the first leg ITU World Triathlon Championship series in Yokohama (Japan) next weekend. Good luck!

Congrats Eleonora!

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Great result last Sunday in Ostend, in the Para-cycling World Cup.
In the road race, our Eleonora Mele, after the fourth place in the time trial, obtained a sparkling third place, a good omen for the next challenge, the World Championships in Portugal next month.
Well done Ele!

A great result!

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Third place for Team Colpack Ballan sprinter Davide Persico on Sunday in the Gran Premio Italian Cycling Team, near Verona.
The rider from Bergamo was preceded by Alessio Portello and by Gleb Syritsa.
The race was 136 km long, covered in 2h 49’43 at an average of 48.363.
Persico’s was a comeback sprint that saw the bearer of the team of patron Beppe Colleoni and Antonio Bevilacqua, ending the racewith a pinch of regret.