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Spinaci Story

1993

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.

1994

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 d’Italia. 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.

August 1994

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 clear.

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 1995.

1995

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.

1996

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 Cinelli’s 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 m was then built. And Cinelli moved into it in August 1997.

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.

July

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 UCI’s 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 UCI’s decision.