The 2022 Sea Otter Classic was a launch event for many products, but Bianchi launched something different. They introduced a new collection of racers and mentors dubbed the Bianchi R & D Collective.

Bianchi R & D Collective TeamPhoto

All photos courtesy of Bianchi

What is the Bianchi R & D Collective?

The R & D Collective, which stands for Race and Develop, is a collection of elite-level athletes representing multiple cycling disciplines, all brought together by Bianchi to share their passions for racing and growing the sport of cycling.

Bianchi R & D Collective Skids

The ensemble cast of six privateers spans the full spectrum of ages, geographies, and racing experience, with the program’s primary focus being on gravel racing. From an 18-year-old Texas high school student to a 50-year-old New England cyclocross legend, they all share a passion for competing at the highest level and have a common bond; the desire to inspire and develop other athletes in all things cycling.

Bianchi R & D Collective country roads

“Bianchi is deeply invested in the future of our sport, its athletes, and the greater cycling community,” said Pat Hus, CEO of Bianchi USA. “We selected athletes to join our mission based on their accomplishments on the bike, but more importantly based on their story and what they are doing to make a difference in cycling.”

Bianchi R & D Collective fun in the sun

The team lineup includes three world-class coaches who are currently mentoring and training over two hundred athletes across the country in all cycling disciplines. Another athlete manages the largest Bianchi dealership in Colorado and works every day to develop and grow the sport.

Bianchi R & D Collective Myerson crit

Adam Myerson explained -“I was in the market for a new bike sponsor and had targeted Bianchi specifically as one of the few brands making a true race-specific ‘cross bike still. After reaching out, what came to fruition was more than I could have imagined. It’s incredibly validating to have a sponsor get behind you and say, “keep doing what you’re doing.” For me, that means continuing to grow the sport. To coach, run events and clinics, parent, and see how my racing still fits into those things. To get to do that on Bianchi bicycles is incredible.”

Bianchi R & D Collective riding in the woods

Another Bianchi R & D rider uses her influence and various platforms to recruit and inspire other women to share her passion for racing. Lastly, the youngest rider on the team is an aspiring athlete in development and is becoming a mentor in his own right with his peers in high school and throughout his home state of Texas.

Bianchi R & D Collective lounnging

Joining Bianchi in support of the Collective are other Italian-based brands – Castelli Cycling, Kask Helmets, Koo Eyewear, Fi’zi:k Saddles and Shoes, and Crank Brothers.

WhitneyPost_SecondPlace_SeaOtter2022

The entire Collective raced throughout the weekend at the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA. The race schedules for each athlete vary and aim for key regional races and other major national events such as the Belgian Waffle Rides, Unbound Gravel,  Paris To Ancaster, Steamboat Gravel, and Big Sugar.

Bianchi R & D Collective start of race

2022 marks the first year Bianchi will not be in the World Tour peloton, as their single-year sponsorship with Team BikeExchange-Jayco ended last season (though Bianchi CEO, Pat Hus, promised they’d be back during the launch event).  Bianchi took this an opportunity to sponsor regional and national-level talent. The Bianchi R & D Collective is only one of the teams that the brand is sponsoring this season, including Team-Colavita-Bianchi professional women’s squad.

Athletes — Bianchi R & D Collective

Bianchi R & D Collective AdamMyerson

Adam Myerson – A New England cyclocross legend, Adam is one of our “developers.” In addition to numerous road, crit, and cyclocross National Championships and Pan Am Championships, Adam has years of coaching and event management experience with his Cycle-Smart program.

Bianchi R & D Collective BrianMcCulloch

Brian McCulloch – Another “developer,” Brian brings a long and successful road racing career with him to teach and motivate his athletes at Big Wheel Coaching. Brian is a past winner of the Belgian Waffle Ride, and his racing knowledge is matched by his desire to get the best out of others. Bjørn Selander – Yet another coach, Bjørn is a former World Tour racer with loads of road and cross experience to pass on to the next generation. Bjørn coaches members of Minnesota Junior Cycling and will focus on gravel and cyclocross.

Bianchi R & D Collective JakePeterson

Jake Peterson – While he’s 27 years old, Jake can be considered one of our “developing” racers who will be leaning on the experience of his more senior teammates. Look for Jake to use this opportunity to jump into more prestigious races and longer distances. Jake manages the C3 Bike Shop, one of Bianchi’s strong retailers on Colorado’s front range.

WhitneyPost

Whitney Post – The winner of last year’s Sea Otter Gravel Race and overall BWR Triple Crown of Gravel, Whitney juggles her professional career with her passion for racing. While a somewhat recent convert to cycling, Whitney brings an enthusiasm and energy level that is hard to surpass.

Bianchi R & D CollectiveWesleyHaase

Wesley Haase – Our youngest member, Wesley represents the next generation of cycling hopefuls. He may still be in high school, but Wesley is already thinking of passing his cycling passion to those younger and less fortunate. Wesley has added gravel racing to his NICA and TMBRA xc racing. The R & D Collective was introduced at the 2022 Sea Otter Classic, where the entire team raced together for the first time in several disciplines. Whitney Post rode to a hard-fought 2 nd place finish in the Open Pro Gravel race.

For more information on Bianchi and the Bianchi R/D Collective, check out:Bianchi.com

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Joe
Joe
2 months ago

All the riders here rock. Appreciate brands supporting the hard work riders put in to get to this level too.
But Bianchi, maybe growing the sport of cycling means supporting a slightly wider perspective of racing than 4 white guys with a sole woman on the team. They don’t need to be elite level to inspire either. Grass roots up is an inspiring route to many. Widen cycling by widening who cycling appeals to?

Joenomad
Joenomad
2 months ago

Well if Bianchi wants to bring more people to the sport of cycling, they should be more representative of those that ride bikes. The R and D Collective looks a bit monochromatic.