Bianchi Via Nirone - Team Liquigas


The mid-2000s witnessed the rise of the Liquigas cycling team, a force to be reckoned with in the world of professional cycling. With the charismatic Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini as their star rider, the team left an indelible mark on the sport.

Under the guidance of team manager Roberto Amadio, Liquigas established itself as a dominant force in the peloton. The team’s focus on nurturing young talents and assembling a formidable roster ensured their presence at the forefront of major races.

Known as the “Lion King,” Cipollini’s flamboyant personality and style became synonymous with Liquigas. His impressive record of victories in prestigious races, including multiple stage wins in the Giro d’Italia, solidified his status as one of the greatest sprinters of his generation.

Behind the team’s success, however, lay a fair share of controversy and drama. Cipollini’s larger-than-life personality often clashed with his teammates and management, resulting in occasional tensions within the Liquigas camp. These internal conflicts, while at times disruptive, added an extra layer of intrigue to the team’s narrative.

The Italian made Bianchi Via Nirone Liquigas Team Issue bicycle of 2005 that we have in our Flandrien Hotel collection features a lightweight aluminium frame made from Dedacciai hydroformed tubing, a carbon fork, and a Campagnolo Record Titanium 10 speed groupset.

With its striking paint scheme the bike really stood out in the peloton, and was one of the last generation of alloy framed bicycles to be used at the professional level before the dominance of monocoque carbon fibre construction from the mid-2000s onwards.

Founded in 1885, Bianchi bicycles swiftly became synonymous with Italian craftsmanship and cycling excellence – and the colour celeste. Legend has it that Edoardo Bianchi took inspiration for the colour from the eyes of Queen Margherita, who he was teaching to ride a bicycle. The hue was chosen to match her eyes, symbolizing elegance and grace.

For over a century, the company flourished under family ownership, producing legendary bikes ridden by champions. From Fausto Coppi, the “Campionissimo,” conquering mountains in the 1940s, to Marco Pantani’s explosive climbs in the 1990s, and Magnus Backstedt’s breakthrough in Paris-Roubiax, Bianchi carried them to victory.

Financial challenges loomed in the late 20th century, prompting a pivotal decision. In 1997, Bianchi passed from Italian ownership and became part of Cycleurope Group, which is owned by the Swedish company of Grimaldi Industri AB. While many Italians mourned the loss of an iconic national brand, others saw potential for global expansion.

Today, Bianchi continues to evolve, blending its rich heritage with modern innovations, uniting riders worldwide in their pursuit of cycling greatness.

And you can even buy other colour than celeste – considered something akin to sacrilege for  true Bianchi aficionados.