True Stories

gravel monsterrato cinelli race

My first UCI race

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What happens when two Milanese messengers pin on a race number for the first time at Italy’s first ever UCI-sanctioned gravel race, Monsterrato?



Several weeks ago two young Milanese messengers and friends Chloe Mazza and Pietro De Giacomo, came and visited at our HQ in Caleppio, outskirts of Milan.

Both Chloe and Pietro are fast, both ride cargo bikes for work, both are extremely active in local messenger-organized races around Milan and both ride Cinelli track bikes when not on their work bikes: Pietro an ultra-rare Cinelli x MASH CX ss that he found on last year for less than €700 (!), Chloe a 2019 Vigorelli Steel “black night” edition (her first ever “real” bike).






Together we discussed the possibility of them pinning on a number at Italy’s first ever UCI-sanctioned gravel race, Monsterrato and trying to achieve a “fairytale” qualification for the Gravel World Championships.

Both were more than up for the challenge.

We signed them to Circolo Ciclistico Cinelli-Iuter our “informal” team, open to anybody with same attitude as us, we gave them a team jersey, gear and bikes: Made in Italy steel Nemo Gravel for Pietro, carbon fiber Zydeco King for Chloe.

With only a few days of proper riding to get used to their new equipment Pietro and Chloe set off to the race with our team “manager” Cappe and Charlie, his vintage T3 Volkswagen van.

Of the race – their first ever “serious” race – both said much the same thing: the atmosphere was very different, the adrenaline of the mass start together with elite athletes is a kick unique to the sport of cycling but the speed, despite an enormous amount of kilometres in their legs this season, was just too much and very soon the dream of qualifying for the world championships evaporated and both were left to enjoy a different kind of challenge, with themselves and against a particularly technical course.





At the end of the race we asked Chloe what the biggest difference between this race and the Italian Cycle Messenger Championship less than a month ago and we found the answer pretty illuminating:

“The biggest difference is that the point of a messenger championship is to race but also to meet people and to learn new skills and techniques for messenger cycling, like how to strap objects to your cargo or discover strange, exotic, custom made components…”


Would they race another UCI race? Maybe yes, maybe not, it was a good experience, it was fun, it was intense, it was crazy!

The first few kilometres in the pack, covered in dust with only a few metres of visibility were unforgettable but when cycling becomes racing it also loses a lot of the values that they find so interesting…





Follow our instagram profile @cinelli_official for more adventures!

And if you are curious, check out the King Zydeco and the Nemo Gravel that Chloe and Pietro used for the race!

Photos: Luca Panegatti

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!

Torneremo ad abbracciarci

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Cara amica, caro amico,

come stai?

Noi fisicamente bene e pronti a ripartire, garantendo la sicurezza di chi lavora con noi.

Dall’inizio del lockdown, i reparti tecnico, creativo, commerciale e amministrativo stanno lavorando da casa, in smart working, con riunioni in modalità virtuale. La produzione è proseguita finché è stato consentito dai decreti del Governo.

Ora, in vista del 4 maggio, stiamo adattando i percorsi e i processi alle necessità di distanziamento sociale: abbiamo riorganizzato il magazzino per poter evadere in sicurezza gli ordini e le richieste, e ci prepariamo ad applicare tutte le necessarie procedure volte a garantire la sicurezza e la salute di tutti coloro che accedono in azienda. Dove possibile manterremo la modalità di lavoro da remoto per fare la nostra parte per il benessere collettivo.

Gli atleti e i Cinelli Ambassador stanno dando il loro personale contributo a progetti solidali, come Paola Gianotti che ha pedalato per 12 ore consecutive sui rulli per acquistare mascherine per gli ospedali. Insieme a Marta Castronuovo di Yoga-à-Porter abbiamo creato Cinelli Cares, le pillole video di yoga per l’allenamento domestico di chi va in bici. Organizziamo meetup e ride su Zwift per mantenere allenamento e spirito di community. Con gli amici di Becycling rientrati in Italia, ci siamo interrogati sul senso del viaggio in bicicletta in tempo di Covid, in una Cinelli Talk su Instagram. I nostri atleti di Team Colpack Ballan, Energy Team, Team LVF, G.S. Stabbia, Deka Riders, Falasca MG.K Vis Luxor, Team Cinelli Smith, Army of two, Lovelo Squadra donne, Team Jadan, Sportcomplex Breclav, Velo ibike, Rush Cycles, Black Sox Bicycle Club si allenano con serietà e impegno tra le mura domestiche, raccontandosi sui social.

Ci aspetta adesso la sfida più impegnativa: ripartire. Ma chi va in bici è abituato alle grandi sfide che necessitano di competenza, rinnovamento, lavoro di squadra, impegno, forza e sudore. Vogliamo stare vicino a chi pedala, ai nostri dealer, ai distributori, per ricominciare tutti insieme, per dare un contributo concreto allo sviluppo culturale e commerciale nostro, dei nostri partner e di tutto il settore.

Vogliamo farci promotori dell’uso della bicicletta come strumento principe del necessario distanziamento sociale per decongestionare la mobilità urbana: la bicicletta è una scelta individuale per il bene collettivo. Vogliamo dialogare con gli altri attori del comparto e partecipare ai tavoli di discussione, per dare un forte e deciso nuovo impulso alla bike industry. Vogliamo promuovere gli incentivi all’acquisto della bicicletta e all’uso delle due ruote come strumento di prevenzione. Vogliamo sostenere i nostri partner e Ambassador nelle campagne di sensibilizzazione per la sicurezza sulla strada e per la riduzione dell’iva sulle biciclette. Vogliamo partecipare alla costruzione di modelli sostenibili di rinnovamento che evidenzino i benefici delle due ruote dal punto di vista economico, ecologico, sanitario. Vogliamo promuovere il cicloturismo di prossimità come motore di rinascita del territorio.

Abbiamo bisogno di immaginare nuove maniere di vivere e convivere. E di lavorare. Stiamo ripensando con nuova linfa creativa ai modelli di lavoro che prima funzionavano ma ora non sono più adeguati: dobbiamo trasferire subito nel quotidiano ciò che abbiamo imparato in questi mesi, dimostrando la nostra resilienza ed intelligenza nell’intessere relazioni e costruire nuove economie.

Il lockdown ci ha indicato la possibilità di sfruttare appieno le tecnologie digitali di comunicazione, aprendo spazio al confronto immediato, abolendo i tempi morti, mostrandoci agli altri anche nella nostra quotidianità privata. L’invito è a tenerci stretta questa guadagnata vicinanza dettata paradossalmente dalla necessaria distanza, per lavorare meglio insieme e dialogare in maniera nuova, empatica ed efficace, creando una potente connessione umana e professionale.

Torneranno i grandi eventi ciclistici, ché le bici devono correre. E noi ci saremo.
Nel frattempo, torniamo insieme in pista.

A presto!

Antonio Colombo e il Team Cinelli

Cinelli Cares

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Questo è il periodo dell’anno perfetto per pedalare: le giornate si allungano, il sole scalda ma non scotta, anche il vento inizia a farsi meno lama e più carezza.
Purtroppo però la situazione Coronavirus impone di stare a casa per salvaguardare la propria salute e quella degli altri.
Dopo lo scoramento iniziale, la realtà virtuale è arrivata in aiuto e adesso si riesce ad allenarsi con gli amici anche rimanendo ognuno a casa sua.

Per integrare e completare l’allenamento indoor Cinelli ha creato Cinelli Cares, una serie di lezioni di yoga studiate appositamente per integrare la preparazione dei ciclisti lavorando su forza e flessibilità con l’obiettivo di migliorare la performance sui pedali.

A svelare i segreti dello yoga per ciclisti sarà Marta Castronuovo, insegnante di yoga e fondatrice di Yoga à Porter con l’obiettivo di offrire un’insegnante che non si estranei dalla realtà, chiudendosi nel minimalismo dei centri yoga, ma che sperimenti e conosca quanto più possibile la realtà nella quale viviamo, diffondendosi per la città, entrando in case, piccoli e grandi uffici, co-working, bar, teatri e altro ancora.
In questo senso, è stata fondamentale la formazione caleidoscopica di Marta, che, agli studi umanistici di Filosofia, Arte ed Antropologia, fonde quelli di Yoga, Medicina Cinese e Ayurveda.
Per maggiori informazioni su tutti gli studi di Marta, clicca qui.

Il primo episodio di Cinelli Cares verrà pubblicato domani, poi ogni martedì e venerdì, sul canale IGTV Cinelli Official.


I record di Paola per combattere il Covid-19

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Aiuta la nostra Ambassador Paola Gianotti a raccogliere fondi per acquistare migliaia di mascherine per l’Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita di Torino.

Paola ha messo all’asta la Cinelli Superstar Disc del suo terzo Guinness World Record, che l’ha vista nel 2017 attraversare il Giappone in nove giorni, da nord a sud. Fai la tua offerta!

Il 18 Aprile, a conclusione e boost della campagna di raccolta, partecipa alla 12 ore sui rulli, pedalando con Paola su Zwift e seguendo la diretta sulla sua pagina Facebook 

Oppure, dona subito:

Forza Paola!

Anima d’Acciaio: visita guidata con Antonio Colombo

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Questa è una di quelle cose che succedono una volta nella vita!
Martedì 18 febbraio presso la galleria Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Antonio Colombo vi guiderà attraverso Anima d’Acciaio, la mostra che individua il contributo cruciale che Columbus ha dato all’evoluzione della bicicletta, aprendo inedite possibilità in termini di materiale, leggerezza, progettazione, design e realizzazione.
A seguire un brindisi per i 100 anni dell’azienda! Non mancare!
Più info qui

Martedì 18 febbraio
ore 19.30 – 21.00
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea
Via Solferino 44

Anima d’Acciaio da Upcycle

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Upcycle presenta:Anima d’acciaio. Columbus e cento anni di design della bicicletta.
Cento anni di Columbus. Cento anni di tubi leggendari che hanno fatto la Storia del ciclismo. Intrecciandosi con quella di Cinelli, altro marchio storico del ciclismo italiano e mondiale.
Una serata per tracciare il percorso dell’innovazione tecnologica degli ultimi cento anni del settore, e individuare il contributo cruciale che Columbus ha dato all’evoluzione della bicicletta, aprendo inedite possibilità in termini di materiale, leggerezza, progettazione, design e realizzazione.
Antonio Colombo ne conversa insieme a Giacomo Pellizzari. Con un ricco bagaglio di racconti, immagini, storie e suggestioni. La coda lunga di un anno dedicato alla ricerca d’archivio e alle celebrazioni di Columbus Continuum, il ciclo di mostre in corso alla galleria Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, a Milano.

Martedì 11 febbraio
ore 19:30
Upcycle Milano Bike Cafè
Via Ampère, 59 – Milano

Cinelli x Tigran Avetisyan

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La missione di Cinelli è sempre stata quella di guardare oltre il presente, di reinventare ogni volta la bicicletta, di migliorare la vita dei ciclisti. I principi di Design guidano la realizzazione dei prodotti Cinelli. Design non è “estetica”. Design è forma, primo progetto, disegno, tecnologia, tecnica, materiali, innovazione, creatività, funzione, qualità, unicità, conoscenza, emozione. Vogliamo che ogni prodotto abbia un’Idea, perché se è una copia, non può essere Cinelli.
Oggi questa idea si esprime nella collaborazione con Tigran Avetisyan, designer russo che ha studiato alla prestigiosa scuola di moda Central Saint Martins a Londra, e la cui collezione finale è stata completamente sponsorizzata da LVMH.
Tigran fa parte del Cinelli Art Program di Wingedstore, con il primo cap che sarà presto online.
L’avanguardia stilistico performativa del designer, sviluppata in una collezione di streetwear con i loghi Cinelli e Columbus e venduta attraverso i canali della moda, verrà presentata domenica 12 gennaio 2020 dalle 18.00.
Durante l’evento Tigran stesso eseguirà una performance di live painting su una Vigorelli Shark con ruote lenticolari gentilmente fornite da Vision.

Siete tutti invitati!

Cinelli x Tigran Avetisyan
12.01.20 – h 18.00
Riccardo Grassi showroom
Via Piranesi 4, Milano

Anima d’Acciaio opening video

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Anima d’acciaio continua fino al 18 gennaio negli spazi della Galleria Antonio Colombo, a Milano.
La selezione in mostra muove da 13 serie tubi Columbus (dove “serie tubi” indica il set di tubi necessari a comporre il telaio), con il loro carattere speciale: AELLE, SL, AIR, SLX, MAX, GENIUS, HYPERION, OR, XLR8R, STARSHIP, XCr, SPIRIT HSS e CENTO, la serie celebrativa del Centenario, a tracciare un ideale percorso dell’innovazione tecnologica degli ultimi cento anni del settore.
A questo link il video della serata d’inaugurazione.

A night with Richard Sachs

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Richard Sachs, world-famous American framebuilder, celebrates 100 years of Columbus at Anima d’acciaio, in a conversation with Pietro Pietricola from Officina Dario Pegoretti, led by the journalist Federico Meda.

The dialogue will explore Sachs’ experience as a rider alongside with the origins and development of his job as a framebuilder, using Columbus tubing, and his collaboration with Dario Pegoretti.
Pietro Pietricola’s experience and point of view will face the relationship between tradition and innovation.

Contributions from a qualified public of framebuilders, makers and Columbus friends will be a further enrichment of the speech.
The conversation will be held in English.
Further info here.

A night with Richard Sachs
December 4th 2019 | 7pm
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea
Via Solferino 44, Milano

“Anima d’acciaio: Columbus and bicycle design” hosts Richard Sachs’ amazingly red race lugged-steel-frame.
Here a selection of images of the contents and opening of the exhibit.
Open to the public until January 18th 2020.