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Bianchi defends handlebar safety despite Arkéa-Samsic pro breaking two during cobbled race

Italian brand says safety of its integrated aero handlebar isn't in question, it's just what can happen when you crash hard

Bianchi stands by the safety of the integrated aero handlebar on its Oltre RC road bike despite Team Arkea-Samsic rider Hugo Hofstetter breaking two during yesterday’s Grand Prix de Denain.

> “That’s not normal”: Arkéa-Samsic pro breaks TWO sets of Bianchi handlebars during cobbled race 

Bianchi says, “The possible breakage of a carbon fibre handlebar is a predictable condition as a consequence of a strong impact generated by uncontrollable dynamics”.

Give us a sec...

Okay, you can knacker your bike if you crash.

Hofstetter went into the French cobbled semi-classic as one of the favourites but he snapped the handlebar of his Bianchi Oltre RC – which was only launched in October – when he slammed on a muddy section of cobbles with around 50km to go. 

Hugo Hofstetter's bars break twice during GP Denain (GCN)

The French rider swapped to a spare bike before crashing again with 30km to go as the race split on the rough farm tracks of northern France. It really wasn't Hofstetter's day. He ended up frustrated and with an unfortunate DNF next to his name on the results sheet.

Is there something up with the build quality of Bianchi’s new all-in-one handlebar/stem? The same rider breaking two bars on a bike that’s only been raced for a few weeks… that’s not a great look. However, Bianchi has come out fighting. Unsurprisingly, the Italian brand says there’s niente wrong with the bar.

Here’s Bianchi's statement in full:

“As already communicated by Team Arkea-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.

“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.

“The possible breakage of a carbon fibre 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.”

So there you go, it could have happened to anyone… well, anyone who crashes hard. Nothing to see here. Move along.

The Bianchi PR department will be keeping their fingers crossed that the Arkéa-Samsic riders stay upright for the remaining cobbled races while this one blows over.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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Simon E | 5253 posts | 6 months ago

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

Translation: do not crash while using these handlebars. They will break.

How many other riders fell during this (or any) race? How many of them had broken handlebars as a result?

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