From the Top: Building Castelli

The story of an unassuming American who brought Castelli back from the grave.

by Wade Wallace

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more iconic brand in cycling than Castelli. The company dates back to the late 1800s, to around the time of the first ever documented bike race

Castelli is an Italian brand with a long, complicated history, but much of its recent success is due to an American by the name of Steve Smith, who came onto the scene in 2000. He had no Italian heritage, no real cycling industry experience, but he did have a love of cycling. By his own admission, he wasn’t an amazing cyclist – instead he veered towards technical innovation so he could stay competitive. 

Steve’s email signature says ‘Castelli Brand Manager’, but I always got the feeling from speaking with him over the years that he did far more than that. As I dug deeper into his story, I learned he’s part owner of the business, steers the ship, and is ultimately the man who turned Castelli around into what we know it as today.

Thank you to Malcolm Bloedel for producing this episode and Ashley de Neef for composing the music.

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