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Le Belle E Le Brutte: 63rd Milano Bike Show

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

The 63rd International Cycle Exhibition, also known as the Milano Bike Show didn't start off in Milano this year, but in a huge new trade show and exhibition center just Northwest of the Lombard capital in the grimy industrial burg of Rho. The new fairgrounds on reclaimed industrial ground were officially inaugurated by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi amid great fanfare. The cavernous new Fiera Milano, designed by renowned Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksass launches its first official trade exposition with EICMA but the place seems (and is) unfinished, with poor signage and a general unpreparedness for the onslaught of cycling fans, consumers, lookie-loos and wannabes jamming the aisles.

Spread over 21,032 square meters and three pavilions of floor space, unlike most trade shows, EICMA is a show that celebrates the bicycle in a country where cycling is not only a beloved sport but a daily transportation activity for many. In fact, the bicycle may be the only way to save many of Italian cities from the choking traffic congestion that has paralysed many city centers on the Italian peninsula over the last few decades. That's why plenty of Italian politicians were lurking near the TV cameras as EICMA began on Friday, such as Minister for the Environment, Altero Matteoli; the Governor of Regione Lombardia, Roberto Formaigoni and Milan's Mayor Albertini. Unlike the old Milano bike show back in the good old days that ran every November in the old Fiera Milano in the middle of town (this writer has been attending the Milano show for almost twenty years), where for Italian cycling aficionados it was like Christmas and Happy Birthday with all the new goodies, this year's EICMA had little new that hadn't already been seen at the Eurobike show at the beginning of the month. In fact, many Italian industry insiders confided to Cyclingnews that they were convinced that EICMA would become a "national" show for Italy more than the important international appointment it has always been.

Bucking that trend were two of Italy's most important innovators, Ernesto Colnago and Andrea Pesenti. Colnago unveiled two new versions of his Colnago for Ferrari range, the CF4 and CF5, while Pesenti was back collaborating with the San Patrignano Community at San Vito Pergine, a residential drug treatment center in the mountains above Trento, with activities such as berry cultivation and high-end bicycle workshop where Pesenti has helped recovering addicts for over a decade. The San Patrignano Community was founded in 1978 by Vincenzo Muccioli and operates cutting-edge educational training programs like San Vito Pergine where recovering addicts learn and utilise valuable skills in creating world-class items. Pesenti's unique Balestra was created for and auctioned at a black-tie charity gala for the San Patrignano Foundation at New York's Guggenheim Museum in June. So despite the invasion of cheap Asian bicycles and the steady reduction of Italian market share in their cherished high-end market share by cycle colossi like Trek and Giant, the 63rd edition of EICMA can be proud of at least one thing. Italian Bicycles are still le piu belle!

Show coverage





Part 1

September 19

Colnago, FSA, Continental, Limar, Oval Concepts, Paolo Savoldelli, Fiorvanti


Part 2

September 21

Shimano, Lightweight, LAS, Fizik


Part 3

September 22

Vittoria, Sportful, DT Swiss, Assos, Carrera & more


Part 4

September 23

Bianchi, De Rosa, Deda, Momo, Kuota


Part 5

September 25

Kuota, DMT, Campagnolo, Pezzo, Colnago, Pinarello, Bergamo, Wilier, M.O.st, Opera, Pegoretti, Pantani


Part 6

September 26

Ritchey, Pesenti, De Marchi, Corratec