Words: Jon Heslop | Date:
“He disappeared into the distance like a motorbike.” Fifty years since the introduction of the Tour of Italy’s highest climbing prize, Rapha is celebrating with the Cima collection, honouring the grandest mountain…
When the road and the mercury rise, keeping cool is a priority – and one of the best ways a rider can gain an advantage over soaring gradients and temperatures is through their clothing. Rapha Pro Team climber’s products have been developed with input from the best riders in the world, and in response to their needs on the biggest climbs on the hottest days.
“April is the cruellest month”
What is it about spring that stirs the senses? It’s the beginning of the racing season and like those early races themselves, throws up very unpredictable results, where the weather can still turn your ride into a nightmare; yet also enliven the body and mind with perfect temperatures for pushing through the wasteland of winter.
Some say style in cycling comes from Italy. Most people say it, in fact.
Think Bianchi celeste. Think Coppi (& Giulia). Think the maglia rosa. Indeed, the Italians are credited for developing the bicycle from a functional, no-frills work tool into an aesthetic plaything, as the post-WWII commercial boom flushed the pockets of everyday men. With handsome pro racers sitting astride the first bicycles painted bright colours, the eyes of the rest of the world glanced oh-so enviously towards glamorous Italy.
Souplesse – French for suppleness – has been appropriated into the cycling lexicon to describe the perfect pedal stroke; that fluid cadence we all strive for, but rarely achieve. To pedal avec souplesse is to spin without thrashing, dance without stumbling; it is to look entirely natural on a bicycle.
Designed in collaboration with Team Sky for competition at the very highest level, Rapha’s new Aero products deliver the lightest and most streamlined apparel yet. Three years in development, the Aero Suit and Aero Jersey are versions of products initially created for the riders of Team Sky. Responding to the Team’s request for the lightest and most aerodynamic jerseys and shorts; minimal construction and tailoring combines with lightweight fabrics and proprietary components.
From beautiful Merino Base Layers for every-day comfort to lightweight Rain Jackets for mountain adventures; the Rapha Women’s Road collection will make every journey by bike a ride to remember this season. With new styles and fresh updates, there’s clothing and accessories for every kind of cyclist – from the recreational to the racer.
The 1980s was a period of real change in the professional peloton. It entered the decade in woollen jerseys, on steel frames and using leather toe straps, but came out the other side dressed in flamboyant polyester, riding carbon fibre and clipped into ‘clipless’ pedals. Yet it wasn’t just engineering or man-made fibres that modernised road racing. TV companies and acquisitive corporate sponsors both played a part in globalising a sport that hadn’t changed much since the 1930s, and which, even by the Eighties, had barely stepped outside Europe.