Crashes, Wounds & Repairs

Words: | Photography: Graham Watson | Date:

It might seem odd to fans, but riders rarely apportion blame for crashes in their post-race interviews – it’s only when a crash is caused by an egregious error or when emotions are running particularly hot that a professional will out another professional’s mistake in the press. Most of the time, crashes are seen as part and parcel of racing, something to be endured rather than something to dwell on. What use is gesticulation and shouting when the race is leaving you behind?

Such was the case when Chris Froome, wearing yellow, crashed in the final 10km of Stage 6 in the Critérium du Dauphiné. By the time the camera moto caught up with the crash, the riders involved were already remounting their bikes and setting off in pursuit of the peloton, who had eased their pace out of respect for the fallen yellow jersey.

Froome finished the stage with bloodied skin showing through the rips in his jersey and shorts. Froome’s crash was, like the hundreds of other crashes in professional racing each season, part of the drama of road racing – and something that could happen to any rider, whether they’re a pro or not.

This is why Rapha provides a crash repair service – our kit looks after us, so we believe we should look after our kit. Through stitching, patches and, in some cases, replacement panels, the crash repair service can bring damaged garments back up to their original levels of quality and performance.

Chris was wearing a pair of Team Sky Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts when he fell heavily on his left side. The tear over his left was four inches long, and stretched across two panels. After the soigneurs laundered the shorts, they sent them back to us for repairs – you can see the results in the photos in this blog.

We’ve held on to the shorts – although we normally return crash repairs within a fortnight – and will be on display in the Rapha Cycle Club London. Chris is now preparing to ride the Vuelta a España, with a couple new pairs of Team Sky Pro Lightweight Bibs.

SS14-Rapha-Team-Sky-Chris-Froomes-Damaged-Bib-Shorts-1 SS14-Rapha-Sky-Chris-Froome-Bib-Shorts-Repaired-Detail-6 SS14-Rapha-Team-Sky-Chris-Froomes-Damaged-Bib-Shorts-4 SS14-Rapha-Sky-Chris-Froome-Bib-Shorts-Repaired-Detail-1 SS14-Rapha-Team-Sky-Chris-Froomes-Damaged-Bib-Shorts-3
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  • cloudman67

    It’s a great service. My only gripe was I was charged a customs fee (about £30!) before I could receive the returned items. Never fathomed that one out.

    • Leo Tong

      Hello @cloudman67:disqus, please get in touch with us at enquiries@rapha.cc with your order details, as you shouldn’t have been charged for this.

      In principle, the goods have no import value having already been imported to the destination country at the point of sale. When we send them, all goods should be marked with a nominal value of $1 (or country equivalent) and returned to you marked “goods returned to customer following repair”.

  • Mark M.

    You guys should really sew some type of kevlar into the hips of Froome’s bibs.

  • Alex Blaney

    Does the same service apply to your bags?

    I’ve had 2 of your rucksacks now and the zips have gone twice on the corners (during normal commuting with a laptop). To be honest I’m really disappointed at the quality of the zips (as they’re pretty pathetic) so there’s a chance to redeem yourselves if you’ll fix them.

    If not then I’ll probably just get a bag somewhere else; £300 on rucksacks in a single year is a little steep.

    • Leo Tong

      Hi Alex, we’re sorry that you’ve had two similar bad experiences with our backpacks, as we rarely see this issue. Many of us here use the backpack religiously every day, often overpacking them with no issues with the zips, so it’s unfortunate that you’ve had this experience twice.

      We do repair them but can’t normally repair the zips due to the nature of their construction, so it depends what exactly has happened.

      Please email repairs@rapha.cc, and we will happily see if we can repair it but, failing that, it sounds like it could be a warranty issue, with two failures in a year.

  • Richard Hale

    I had a great service from the repair team on my beloved softshell. Many thanks !

  • JL

    This is a fantastic service that Rapha offers. However it takes a long time for the repair to take place (They’ve had my bib shorts for over 4 weeks now) and Rapha needs to work sending email updates to its customers on the status of a repair. It would be great to be kept informed of the process instead of wondering when I’ll ever get my shorts back.

  • Thom

    You guys did a great job on my brevet jersey and jerkin after I crashed hard halfway through last years Festive 500. Very impressed with the work done and it’s another tale for my favourite jersey to tell.

  • Tmo

    This is a great service! I have used twice personally. First time on a pro thermal bib short. A hole was developing on a seam for no reason, fixed very professionally and I was happy, turnaround was just over 4 weeks. Second was on a pro kit (bib and jersey) typical left side dump (shoulder and butt/thigh tears/holes) patched up very professionally, happy again with repair. This repair was right a 3 weeks so pretty quick. I do agree that updates would be great such as an estimated time frame would be helpful but at the end of the day this service has saved me replacing jerseys, bibs and money! Props to the repair team they do great work!

  • Michael F

    Good timing on this. My wounds are still fresh from last Sunday’s “What the hell was that” as I dove to the pavement on Jupiter Island. While I sat on the side of the road watching my group leave (After being duly checked on and wifey called) all I thought was man, I really love my new Superlight jersey. I’ll ship it out tonight. I think you’ll be impressed. Good news is it was only a lot of road rash. Yes, my friends, it can happen to anyone of us, anytime. Tailwinds.

  • starkview

    Curious if all repairs done in England. My wife just repaired my Rapha Bib Shorts after an “operator error” crash. Afterwards I did the checklist: You know, Bike: OK Body: OK Clothing: AARGH!! Anyway she is an amazing seamstress and the repair is great. You need to contract out some of this repair work in the US!! We’re not in Portland but we are Portlandish!

  • jonas ahlbom

    Great offer! A crasch is a real possibility for most dedicated riders, even outside of the world tour peloton. It’s good to see that Rapha is aware of, and helps out with some of the cosequences. However, given this insight, I always wonder why Rapha have so many helmetless riders in the beautiful, beautiful films and ads.

  • huggy

    i hadnt considered team sky to be so skint that they would repair damaged kit, or too tight to replace it for that matter.