From Northern Italy to North America
Wilier Triestina bicycles arrived in the USA in 1999, a full 93 years after the company was founded in Northern Italy. Since their entry into the US market 16 years ago, the brand has gone from strength to strength, and has now won six US National Championship titles in the last two years, more than any other bicycle brand.
Founded in 1906 in Bassano, a town at the base of the famed Monte Grappa climb, Wilier’s pre-war years were filled with victories across Europe. This culminated with Giordano Cottur winning a stage of the 1946 Giro d'italia in Trieste. In the post war years, the brand struggled, eventually closing its doors in 1952, as the affordable motor car swept across Europe. It wasn’t until 1969 that Wilier resurfaced. Lino Gastaldello rescued the company under the Wilier Triestina brand, and started producing bicycles in Bassano once more. With a passion for racing, Wilier once again sponsored the top tier teams, and this paid off with multiple victories through the 1980's and 90's, including Marco Pantani’s famed stage win in the 1997 Tour de France atop Alpe d’Huez.
This racing pedigree has crossed the Atlantic with the Wilier Triestina brand. From it's inception, Wilier Triestina USA has been committed to testing its bicycles under the top teams in the States. Team SmartStop began a productive relationship with Wilier in 2013 that lead to Eric Marcotte winning the USA Cycling Pro National Road Race in 2014. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team also partnered with Wilier 2014, and in the first season of their relationship, Wilier took home four Stars and Stripes Jerseys. The sponsorship of the best teams in the United States has greatly aided Wilier Triestina in developing new bicycles, and staying ahead of the curve in implementing race winning technology. The Cento1Air, Wilier’s marquee aerodynamic road bike, won 49 professional races in 2014 alone. This pedigree is hard to match, and ensures that Wilier is always on the pulse of what the best athletes in the world want from their bicycles.
So, how is Wilier Triestina pronounced, and what do the words mean? Both names were born out of Italian patriotism following the World Wars. Wilier is an acronym pronounced Vee’-lee-air. Italians use ‘W’ as an abbreviation for the word “Viva”, which means “Long live”. The patriotic phrase, “W l’Italia liberata e redenta” (Long live Italy, liberated and redeemed) gave birth to Wilier. Triestina refers to the Italian city of Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. The Triestina was added to the Wilier name after Cottur’s famed 1946 Giro stage win. In the following year’s Giro d’Italia, Wilier founder Pietro Dan Molin entered a team under the name Wilier Triestina, which has now become the company name.