Davide Cassani close to setting up new Bianchi-backed Italian ProTeam for 2023

Cassani's project starts to come together for the former Italian national coach.

Photo: Getty Images

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Davide Cassani is on the verge of setting up a second-tier men’s cycling team for 2023, with several high-profile riders already linked to the venture. According to several sources, Bianchi is set to supply the team with bikes as Cassani bases the team near the bike manufactures European headquarters, in Bergamo.

Rumors and speculation have been mounting for several months now but some form of announcement is expected in the coming weeks, and possibly during the Giro d’Italia. Caffè Borbone — a household name in Italy, and a well-known coffee brand — has been mentioned as a potential title sponsor, although Cassani would not confirm any of the precise details at this stage.

“I don’t know. For now, no,” Cassani told VeloNews when asked about Caffè Borbone’s potential place on the team jersey.

“For the moment, nothing is sure because I’m busy working on a new team but at the moment nothing is sure yet. In one month I think that I’ll know more,” Cassani said.

“There are lots of rumors, and they date back to last year,” one source told VeloNews.

Casillo has also been linked as a partner of the team.

“Normally, during the Giro, he will announce the new team but nobody knows the name of the sponsor or the riders because it’s not easy.”

Another source told VeloNews that Cassani’s project was “almost complete.”

According to sources, the team is likely to start at ProTeam status — one down from WorldTour — with several riders linked to the project. They include Diego Ulissi, Alessandro Fedeli, and Matteo Trentin — although VeloNews understands that the latter rider is close to extending with UAE Team Emirates.

There had been speculation that world time trial champion Filippo Ganna had been on Cassani’s radar but there is little to no chance of the Ineos Grenadiers rider terminating his contract and dropping down a level. More likely is that Cassani signs a raft of veteran Italian riders from the WorldTour and ProTeam ranks and uses 2023 and 2024 to solidify any potential roster.

Cassani, a former professional rider and national coach for the men’s road team, is also on the lookout for an Italian bike supplier.

Both Bianchi and Pinarello have been linked to the team but VeloNews understands that Bianchi will work with Cassani’s team. The Italian brand was with BikeExchange-Jayco last year, but were replaced by Giant towards the end of the season.

When asked about the bike supplier situation — Pinarello or Bianchi involvement — Cassani would neither confirm nor deny the situation.

“I don’t know but I’m not sure. Call me in 20 days and I can tell you something,” Cassani said.

Mario Chiesa has been linked to the team as a possible sports director.

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