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Milan, Italy, September 15-18, 2006
Part 1 - September 18
Sempre Multo Bello, Sempre Piu Piccolo
"Always very beautiful, always smaller"
By Tim Maloney in Milan
The 2006 EICMA Milano bicycle show kicked off on September 15 at the Fieramilano fairgrounds. Italy's top cyclists were on hand for the opening as the Italian national team for the upcoming World Championships was officially announced, while Italian cycling stars like Mario Cipollini and Paola Pezzo also added some glamour. Athough the skies opened up with a torrential rainstorm that flooded the autostrada, the wet weather couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the Italian dealers and public for what has become, in it's 65th running, mostly a domestic Italian bicycle trade show. Gone are the glory days when the EICMA bicycle show was run at the same time as the motorcycle show at the original Milano Fiera grounds in the city center, but there was little nostalgia for those days of yore in Pavillions 22 & 24, just a lot of excitement for the latest & greatest from the Italian bicycle industry.
Bianchi and Ducati finally come out to play
VIP's in Italy are "I Big" (the big) and at the opening of the 2006 EICMA show in Milan, I Bigs Fausto Pinarello, Mario Cipollini and Paola Pezzo were seen trading training tips and a few laughs in the aisles.
Cipo told Cyclingnews that he's excited about his upcoming trip to Interbike Las Vegas on behalf of Specialized, while Paola, who rode Gran Fondo mountain bike events the last few years for the big red S will open a bike shop next year in Bardolino, Italy with her partner Paolo Rosola.
It was reported in February, from its headquarters in Treviglio, that Italian bicycle manufacturer Bianchi had formed a a strategic alliance with Italian motorcycle brand Ducati to produce a bicycle line under the Ducati name.
At the time, Aussie superbike rider Troy Bayliss, an avid cyclist who trains for motorcycle racing on a Bianchi road bike, was said to be instrumental in putting the two brands together. The fruits of the partnership were finally unveiled at the EICMA show when Bianchi revealed the details and production models from the Ducati bicycle line.
Seeming to take into account a full range of cyclists, the company released four road bikes, three mountain bikes and a Street Bike. At the top of the road range is the Factory 900XR with a high modulus carbon fibre frame that weighs in at a claimed 900 grams (55cm). Inspired by Ducati's dirt bike model, the Scrambler MTB represents the off-road heritage of the Italian firm translated to non-motorized two wheels, while the cool Ducati Panigale street model is named after the neighborhood in Bologna where Ducati has its headquarters.
In cool contrast to Ducati's bright red color schemes, Bianchi's famous use of celeste green was prominent in its latest top-line road bike; the 928 Carbon SL. With a new frame design in Bianchi's exclusive nano-tech carbon fibre and featuring a Pinarello Dogma inspired oversize BB, the 928 Carbon SL will be available in six sloping sizes.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com