Bianchi responds to Florian Sénéchal’s criticism after bike problems at Paris-Roubaix, team apologises

Arkéa-B&B Hotels issues apology as a result of Bianchi statement, shining some light on the events at race and admitting that set-up instructions were not followed

Clock17:13, Thursday 11th April 2024
Bianchi claimed Arkea B&B Hotels mechanics didn't follow specific instruction regarding handlebar assembly at Sunday's Paris-Roubaix

© GCN

Bianchi claimed that Arkéa-B&B Hotels' mechanics didn't follow specific instruction regarding handlebar assembly at Sunday's Paris-Roubaix

Following the comments made by Florian Sénéchal (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) at the end of Paris-Roubaix last Sunday that questioned the suitability of Bianchi’s bikes for the race, the Italian brand has released a statement that appears to shift the focus towards the team’s mechanics and their set-up of the bikes.

Arkéa-B&B Hotels and Sénéchal went on to issue an apology to the brand, reaffirming their confidence in the brand and conceding that certain instructions around set-up were not followed.

Sénéchal was forced to swap his bike four times during Paris-Roubaix due to issues with the handlebars, before finishing 60th in the velodrome. When asked by CyclismActu what happened, Sénéchal said that either his fork or stem had "started to give out".

He went on to say: "I think that we have a technical problem with our bike and we'll have to look into it. It's annoying to always have problems."

Read more: Israel-Premier Tech will ride gravel bikes at Paris-Roubaix

In light of this, Bianchi looked into the issues experienced by Sénéchal at the race and responded with a press release on Thursday, stating: “The company constantly invests not only in research and development but also in laboratory and road testing activities which guarantee the use of its products in total safety.”

The statement reinforces the processes around testing and certification of Bianchi’s bikes, but it is the brand's final point that looks to place greater responsibility upon the French team itself: "Following discussions between Bianchi and the technical staff of the team, it emerged that the specific instructions provided by Bianchi for assembling the handlebars of bikes were disregarded in some cases, causing disparities in the handling of the bicycles in competition."

Bianchi looked to Luca Mozzato’s second place at the Tour of Flanders for further evidence that the brand's bikes are more than safe for use on the testing parcours of the Classics.

Read more: Michael Matthews relegated from Tour of Flanders podium for sprint deviation

In the statement, Bianchi also said: "The numerous pre-race tests and the continuous use in competition of the Bianchi RC models by Team Arkéa-B&B Hotels in the Northern classics, including Luca Mozzato's second place at the Tour of Flanders on the Oltre RC, demonstrate the total efficiency and effectiveness of the Bianchi Reparto Corse models, even in very high-stress races.”

Despite the comments made by Sénéchal, Bianchi remains positive in its involvement with Arkéa, in the public eye at least.

It rounded off the statement by saying: "Bianchi reiterates its support for Team Arkéa-B&B Hotels with renewed positivity, looking forward to the upcoming important events of the season with the aim of taking more victories and consolidating the top-10 position in the UCI WorldTour rankings.”

Bianchi is adamant that its products are safe for use by both consumers and professional riders so long as the instructions are followed.

Following the release of Bianchi's statement, Sénéchal and Arkéa-B&B Hotels issued a joint apology to the brand on Thursday afternoon.

The statement reads: "The Arkéa-B&B Hotels team and Florian Sénéchal would like to jointly apologise for the comments made by the latter on Sunday April 7 at the finish of Paris-Roubaix."

The team also went on to acknowledge that the allegations made by Bianchi regarding the bars being fitted without following instructional procedure were in fact true.

"After discussions between Bianchi and the team staff, it appeared that certain instructions provided by Bianchi regarding the assembly of the handlebars were ignored, causing disparities in the use of the bikes in the race," the team said.

The apology concluded by saying: "The Arkéa-B&B Hotels Team, its General Manager Emmanuel Hubert, as well as all the riders from the three structures, would like to reaffirm their total confidence in the Bianchi brand bikes, which have already enabled them to win seven races already this season."

For all the latest developments in the world of bike tech, make sure to head over to our dedicated tech news section of the GCN website.

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