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16.11.2015 @ 09:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nippo-Vini Fantini is the first Italian-Japanese professional team. They made their pro continental debut in 2015 and with a Giro participation, they draw a positive balance of their first year at the top level.


The team focuses on transparency and the fight against doping (the riders publish test data on the team site), the riders are actors in a docu-series, and they pay special attention to young Italians and Japanese who grow under the leadership of Damiano Cunego and Pier Paolo De Negri. The team wants to go forward with its innovative approach. 


In an interview with Tuttobiciweb, Francesco Pelosi, a businessman from La Spezia and general manager of the team, looks back on the birth of the team. "Our team is based on three sponsors who have a relation to cycling: Vini Farnese from Abruzzo, bike manufacturer De Rosa from Milan and Nippo, a leading Japanese construction." From 2015 Pelosi and his partner Nicholas Figoli, managers in marketing and communication, have led the team which is linking Italy with Japan. "The project is related to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Japan has decided to team up with Italy, which is considered to be a key place of cycling, to grow its top talent under the leadership of Cunego, a symbol of clean cycling and an idol in Japan," Pelosi said.

The team had a good first year with achievements like winning the Fair Play Award in the Giro, winning the Tour de Hokkaido with the promising Riccardo Stacchiotti and the Tour of China 1 with sprinter Daniele Colli who was the victim of an unfortunate crash in the Giro. "And then there is Cunego who returned to a high level, sprinter Marini, 22 who has won four races, De Negri who was the only of our riders to win in Europe, in Slovenia, Berlato who was protagonist in many breas at the Giro and the Japanese rider who have grown so much , like climber Ishibashi and sprinter Yamamoto."


The cherry on the cake was the recent participation in a major event at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo with the presentation of the project in front of special guest Sadakazu Tanigaki, first secretary of the Japanese party. Now Pelosi looks forward. The team has scored two major signings with the return of Grega Bole who ride for the team when it was still at continental level, and Japanese champion Kazushige Kuboki who is known as the "Viviani of the Rising Sun" as he excels both on the road and the track. "And we bet on the development of Antonio Nibali, Vincenzo's brother," said Pelosi. "We expect even more from him. He has all the characteristics to do well in the big races."



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