Full Speed Ahead (FSA) have become the Italian Cycling Federation’s (FCI) official track racing partners for the next two years.
The deal, signed at FSA’s European office in Milan in front of luminaries including Liquigas pro Ivan Basso, means the component makers will be able to use the feedback they get from Italy’s teams to improve their track – and ultimately singlespeed and fixie – products.
Claudio Marra, general manager of FSA, said that while the company hoped to help the Italian teams achieve greater successes on the track, “one of the main aims of this partnership is the continuous collaboration and communication among all the parties”.
He added: “The suggestions of the athletes during the track training with Full Speed Ahead components will be helpful in order to improve and refine the company’s products.”
FSA Europe spokeswoman Gloria Radaelli told BikeRadar: “For sure, this partnership will help our company to develop and test new product. Near FSA Europe we have a big velodrome (in Montichiari, Brescia). Thanks to this closeness we are in contact with many technical coaches. This sponsorship makes our technical presence easier. The riders and the technical coaches … know they can count on us and on our support.
“We have always received, and taken into consideration, feedback on road, mountain, triathlon, freeride, etc, products. For us this is very important. It allows us to have continuous and constant reports on our products. At the same time we are able to give many suggestions to riders and help them to find the best suitable products in order to improve their capabilities.”
Radaelli said improvements to FSA’s track kit would inevitably have an affect on gear made for other branches of cycling. “We have always worked in this way,” she said. “The improvement of one discipline can be useful for other disciplines. So, the track improvements can be useful for road, time trial and chrono, but road, time trial and chrono feedback is also important for the track discipline.
“For example, the BB30 bottom bracket is the new standard and it starts becoming more and more diffuse in road and mountain biking… For the future we are valuing the possibilities to introduce it in track: this discipline can obtain many advantages from this standard.”
Italy has 31 tracks, with 2,300 registered riders and a fleet of 2,000 bicycles owned by the FIC. There are 103 regional races and 10 national competitions.
The Federation, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, has traditionally tended to focus on road racing, but its president, Renato Di Rocco, described the deal with FSA as “the relaunching of the track sector” and said track racing should be seen as complementary to road racing, not a rival.
Plans are afoot to build velodromes in Turin and Treviso, following the opening of the country’s first covered velodrome in Montichiari.