Cinelli invented Spinaci handlebar extensions, after the cyclists
themselves expressed a desire to reach further forward positions
to relax their backs and achieve greater traction during ascent.
Shorter and larger than the triathlon extensions, Spinaci give a
wide range of positions thanks to the association of clips and extensions;
due to the angle chosen, the system changes the position.
Spinaci were tested during training by many athletes; Claudio Chiappucci,
for example, gave a deep contribute suggesting new angles and positions.
May: Cinelli sent to UCI all the technical documents necessary
to obtain the omologation for racing. Spinaci appeared for the first
time during the Giro dItalia. And Claudio Chiappucci again
was the testimonial: he mounted Spinaci on his bike but rules were
still missing and the race judges preferred to avoid the use of
the new product.
Anyway, during the same Giro, Chiappucci e Pantani used Spinaci
during the timed climb to Passo del Bocco: the results were fantastic.
Cinelli sent new technical documents during the World Championship
in Palermo, while Luciano Fusar Poli - former Olympic athlete and
at present Cinelli general manager - met all the members of the
Technical Commission to explain all the characteristics of Spinaci
and the way to use the new product. At that point everything is
The Union Cycliste Internationale gave the omologation with
a letter, dated November, 1 1994
hat means Spinaci could be used in all road races since 1st January
March: it was the first time of Spinaci in a World Cup race, used
by Claudio Chiappucci; the echo is impressive. The more Spinaci
were used, the more sales grew. At the end of the second race of
Tour de France, Claudio Chiappucci was interviewed by Antenne 2
to present Spinaci, declared the most best technical improvement
of the 1995 Tour.
Cinelli spent many millions in publicity and sponsoring professional
teams to promote the use of original UCI approved Spinaci ; in fact
there were just many imitations.
3T - deeply convinced of the importance of the UCI omologation
- obtained the same certificate
for its product, really similar to Cinellis one.
Meanwhile Spinaci were declared the most innovative product of
the year by Velo News magazine, obtaing a great numbers of covers
and an infinite number of articles.
Spinaci win a larger number of races.
Strengthened by this success, Cinelli joined forces with Columbus
and 3T to create a single production pole which goes by the name
of GRUPPO S.p.A. A plant which covers an area of seven thousand
m² was then built. And Cinelli moved
into it in August 1997.
Spinaci and similar extensions are regular used by all the professional
bikers. Michele Bartoli, the winner of the World Cup 1997, declared
he did not renounce on them. During the World Championship of San
Sebastian Spinaci and similar are wide spread; something similar
to Spinaci was mounted also on the bike of the second classified.
Al the end of the Tour de France, Mr. Jean Marie Leblanc, Tour
director, declared during
an interview by a Angelo Zomegnan that accidents registered
during the first ten stops of Tour de France were caused by the
new technical products used by the road bikers, announcing there
will be great technical news; probably he already know the UCI
decision of the next 8th October!
After this interview, August, 8, Mr. Verbruggen, UCI President,
sent a letter to all Professional
Teams and to all National Cycling Federationsasking to express
their opinions about the presumed unsafety of Spinaci handlebar
extensions and carbon spokes wheels.
A great number of Professional Teams
declared that Spinaci handlebars are not causing any unsafe situations
or risks; many National Cycling Federations said the same.
Cinelli management met UCI members before the Centenary Commission
meeting in Lausanne.
22nd September: Luciano Fusar Poli sent a letter
to Mr. Verbruggen to inform about the safety of Spinaci by
the point of view of the Professional Teams. Cinelli said it is
at disposal of the UCI, supported by technical documentation, to
meet Mr. Verbruggen and eventually the members of the Material Commission
to discuss about the product.
Mr. Fusar Poli also wrote: "... that means that at the present
more than 600,000 "enthusiastbike riders" are using Spinaci
or similar extensions: we have no information of damage caused by
the use of Spinaci and as far as we know was never reported by officials
(at least in Italy) any accident caused by the use of Spinaci. ..."
Three days later ( 25th September) Mr. Antonio Colombo, Gruppo
President, sent a fax
message to Mr. Jean Marie Leblanc, Tour director, to express
the Cinelli philosophy about safety.
8th October: the UCI made the drastic decision, suspending the
use of Spinaci extensions and giving to the carbon spokes wheels
a waiting period before the final decision, giving time to technicians
to modify the product."It is
purely a safety issue" - said the UCI president - "the
bars have increased speeds and the position prevents a rider from
reaching the brakes quickly, so we have stopped them from being
used." There are no technical and scientific documents to support
and prove the UCIs decisions.
22nd October: Mr. Antonio Colombo, Gruppo S.p.A. President, sent
a new letter to
Mr. Verbruggen; he talked about the important contribution of Cinelli
to the history of cycling, but firstly he wrote: "We are sure
that Spinaci extensions are in no way dangerous, nor do they create
danger, in mass start events, on the contrary, the greater comfort
that they offer is destined to become a virtue as far as safety
is concerned. Only the improper use of Spinaci may create difficult
situations for cyclist lacking in expertise: but we are able to
suggest modifications for such cases."
Meanwhile, Gruppo S.p.A. management asked to the Bioengineering
Department - Faculty of Engineering - Polytechnic of Milanto
study the effects of different handlebar hand postures on fast brake
lever reaching movements in cycling. The underlying assumption
motivating the study is that riding postures providing quick access
to brake levers allow the athletes to more easily manage the braking
operation, when he is forced to suddenly decrease bicycle speed
or change direction for avoiding an unexpected obstacle.
In the same period, Dr. Luigi Simonetto, member of Commissione
Sanitaria Nazionale of FCI, expressed his positive opinion about
Spinaci in an abstract sent to Cinelli. In his
study he writes: " ... Talking about the presumed dangerous
nature of the handlebar extensions used in the road race and their
presumed negative effects to the quick access to brake levers during
critical situations, there are no reports of accidents to support
this thesis. ..."
From the UCI ... only silence.
13rd December: Mr. Antonio Colombo, Gruppo S.p.A. president, together
with Ugo Dal Lago, Gruppo S.p.A. lawyer, appeals to the law court
against UCIs decision.