Barloworld have moved quickly to find a new bike sponsor for 2008 after the loss of Cannondale, and after rapid negotiations, team manager Claudio Corti has struck a deal with legendary Italian manufacturer Bianchi.

Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings and team leaders Mauricio Soler, Robert Hunter and Baden Cooke will switch to Bianchi bikes from January 1, with the Bianchi name also likely to appear on the team?s jersey.

The riders are expected to use the 928 Carbon SL and the new Custom Carbon T-Cube that are part of Bianchi?s Hors Category range. The first bike in team colours set to be unveiled at the Milan bike show on Saturday. The original Bianchi celeste blue colour that was made famous by Italian legend Fausto Coppi on the 1950s.

?Bianchi is proud to join forces with a successful team like Barloworld run by team manager Claudio Corti. The team?s long-term strategy is to create a successful team, working closely with its technical sponsors. I hope we can lay the foundations for a successful relationship that will last many years,? Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito said.

In recent years Bianchi sponsored the Liquigas team and the highly successful Gewiss?Bianchi mountain bike team. After their success in this year?s Tour de France, the Barloworld team is expected to secure a place in both the Giro d?Italia and the Tour de France.

RELATED LINKS
Cannondale and Barloworld split