‘Severe impacts’ see Hugo Hofstetter break two sets of handlebars in 25km

Bianchi defends safety standards after Arkéa Samsic racer busts two sets of Oltre RC carbon handlebars during final of GP Denain.

Photo: GCN / Eurosport

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Bianchi responded to the bizarre scenes Thursday that saw Hugo Hoffstetter break two sets of the Italian brand’s handlebars in the space of 30 minutes.

Hoffstetter bust two pairs of the integrated carbon bars on his Bianchi Oltre during the cobble-laden GP Denain this week.

A pileup at around 47km to go in the French classic left the Arkéa-Samsic speedster with a bar shorn near the brake lever, its drop-section and hood dangling from a straggling bit of bar tape and brake hose.

After switching bikes, another crash little more than 20km later saw the Frenchman crack another pricey bit of carbon at a similar place to before. He abandoned soon afterward.

Hofstetter broken bars
Here’s how the bars looked after the second breakage. (Photo: GCN / Eurosport)

After a commentary furor and social media explosion, Bianchi issued a statement to defend its safety standards Friday.

“As already communicated by Team Arkéa-Samsic, the breaks suffered by the handlebar of the Bianchi Oltre RC used by the athlete were caused by two different falls in which the rider was unluckily involved, during two separate but proximate segments of the race. In both cases, the incident caused a severe impact on the component,” the Italian brand stated.

“Like all Bianchi products, Oltre RC handlebars have successfully passed validation test protocols in accordance with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 4210-5 regulations and are therefore safe to use by both our customers and professional athletes equipped with Bianchi.”

Bianchi went on to point toward crash impact for the handlebar failures.

“The possible breakage of a carbon fiber handlebar is a predictable condition as a consequence of a strong impact generated by uncontrollable dynamics.

“Bianchi holds the safety of its customers and professional athletes in the highest consideration. The company constantly invests in research and development, as well as in laboratory and on-road testing activities to guarantee the safe use of its products.”

Hoffstetter and his Arkéa-Samsic team have not released a statement on the matter.

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