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Bianchi prepares for possible WorldTour return with confusion over Arkéa Samsic’s 2023 bikes

The famous Italian brand once raced on by Marco Pantani and Fausto Coppi is preparing for a WorldTour comeback.

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Riders aren’t the only players on the market for 2023 with bike suppliers also on the merry-go-round when it comes to signing new contracts and switching teams.

The situation at most of the top-tier teams looks relatively settled with the likes of Jumbo-Visma, UAE Team Emirates, and Ineos Grenadiers all locked into long-term deals for the next season with the current partners.

The status of Arkéa Samsic and its bike supplier looks a little less clear, however.

The French team has its current flock of bikes supplied by Canyon but VeloNews has heard from two independent sources that the team will change bikes for next season, with Bianchi linked with a possible takeover. Arkéa is set for a move into the WorldTour for next season due to their haul of UCI points.

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When approached by VeloNews, Arkéa denied that they would be changing bikes next year with a team spokesperson categorically denying that they would be working with Bianchi in 2023, and stating that they would be racing on Canyon bikes for the new year.

Such a strong declaration seems quite strong at this point given the fact that Canyon would later tell VeloNews that no contract was in place for next year with the brand also refusing to confirm whether a deal would be signed or not. Canyon also supplies bikes to Movistar and Alpecin Fenix.

A spokesperson for Canyon told VeloNews via text: “There’s nothing confirmed either way from our side on Arkéa.”

Bianchi, one of the oldest and most prestigious bike brands on the planet, has a long history of supplying some of the most famous riders of all time with race bikes, with Fausto Coppi Felice Gimondi, Marco Pantani and Laurent Fignon all racing to success on the Italian brand.

Bianchi was also tight-lipped when approached for comment. When asked if they had at least been in discussion with Arkéa, a spokesperson for the brand said, “Really sorry but we cannot say anything about our future for the moment. Still too early.”

The famous Italian brand did confirm that they were preparing something of a comeback.

“Bianchi is preparing the ground for our coming back with the reborn Reparto Corse, our racing division. Reparto Corse means Bianchi racing division,” a statement said. “A division dedicated to developing technology and high performance bikes for racing. Bianchi created this in the 1950s with Coppi. We now want to bring it back to life.”

It appears that Bianchi is at least trying to break back into the men’s WorldTour peloton for 2023. Whether that’s with Arkéa remains to be seen but given the French team’s lack of clarity on the situation it could take a while before any concrete news is confirmed.