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Rapha peddles its 2008 collection

Rapha’s pricy, chic line of retro-modern cycling clothing is built from a mix of technical and natural fibers including Merino wool, wool hybrids and synthetic fabrics by Swiss Schoeller. They’re then tested by an outfit of London bicycle messengers, the Rapha Continental test squad, and — not to mention — cycling legend Andy Hampsten.[nid:73678]

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Centerpiece commemorates Hampsten’s Gavia Pass win

By Matt Pacocha

Andy Hampsten in his NEW pink jersey

Andy Hampsten in his NEW pink jersey

Photo: Marty Caivano, courtesy Rapha

Rapha’s pricy, chic line of retro-modern cycling clothing is built from a mix of technical and natural fibers including Merino wool, wool hybrids and synthetic fabrics by Swiss Schoeller. They’re then tested by an outfit of London bicycle messengers, the Rapha Continental test squad, and — not to mention — cycling legend Andy Hampsten.

The Sportwool jersey will be at home on the road.

The Sportwool jersey will be at home on the road.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

Hampsten, now 45, made his legend 20 years ago on the Gavia Pass in the 1988 Giro d’ Italia, when he rode away from his competition in a blizzard solidifying his GC position in a race he would go on to win. He won the Giro that year, and remains the only American to have won the Italian tour.

Or on display.

Or on display.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

“It was one of my great days on the bike, the Gavia,” said Hampsten, in a Rapha press release. “It was cold, there was snow. I went faster than the other guys. It had all the ingredients of an epic, memorable stage.”

Rapha will offer 500 commemorative pink wool jerseys with Hampsten’s Cinghiale logo, his name emblazoned in the font of his former 7-eleven sponsor and even a pin-on cloth number. The jerseys will be equally at home behind glass on enthusiasts’ walls as on their backs while climbing their local passes. The pink tunic will cost $205, and is available now.

Besides Hampsten’s signature piece, Rapha is rolling out a revamped collection for spring. It has three special edition wool jerseys to represent cycling’s deep-rooted origins in Belgium, France and Italy. Each jersey has a story sewn into its pocket explaining the type of cyclist and racer that the country breeds. The stories below are what can be found in each jersey.

Rapha’s Country Jerseys.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

HARD, FAST AND PART OF THE BLACK TRAIN.
SHOE COVERS, THREE QUARTERS AND A CAP UNDER HIS HELMET.
HE LIVES IN THE ECHELON, THE WIND AND RAIN.
FROM FLANDERS TO ROUBAIX AND THE ARDENNES.
HE FLOWERS IN SPRING ON THE COBBLES AND MURS.
… THE BELGIAN

THE ‘PATRON’ OF THE PELOTON, HE KNOW THE RULES.
HIS NICKNAME SHOW’S HE IS LOVED.
WEIGHED DOWN WITH EXPECTATION, HE IS THE NEARLY MAN, THE ‘ETERNAL SECOND’.
STILL HE BATTLES ON AGAINST THEM ALL, AGAINST HISTORY.
A PART OF THE LANDSCAPE THAT FORMED HIM.
… THE FRENCHMAN

TRAINING CANNOT START BEFORE HIS FIRST ESPRESSO.
IF IT’S RAINING, IT DOESN’T START AT ALL.
HE SETS THE RULES FOR EURO CYCLING STYLE.
AND HAS THE BEST VICTORY CELEBRATIONS.
HE COMES ALIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS.
AND LIVES FOR THE HOTTEST DAYS IN MAY.
… THE ITALIAN

Rapha’s country jerseys will cost $155 each.

The Stowaway in its three colorways.

The Stowaway in its three colorways.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

The new Stowaway jacket is Rapha’s lightweight water resistant shell that offers 45 minutes of coverage in a downpour. It’s not a rain jacket but a take-everywhere springtime staple, says Rapha’s new North American general manager, Slate Olson. It’s made of a four-way stretch fabric with Rapha’s trademark offset zipper. It’s priced at $290 and will be available mid April.

The Gilet Vest is made out of the same material as the Stowaway. It’s available in three colors, white, black and a special Italian Edition. Only 500 of the Italian vests will be made and they will each feature Rapha stories set in the Gazzetta dello Sport’s type face running down its front. The styling is said to symbolize stuffing paper down your front to prepare for a cold descent. The Gilet costs $195 and will be available mid April.

The Club Jerseys.

The Club Jerseys.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

Among other new items are the Club Jerseys in four new colors, the Fixed Shirt, Touring Short and Criterium Gloves.

The Club Jersey retails for $155 and is made from Rapha’s Sportwool with a ¾-length zipper, two conventional side pockets, a center pump pocket and a small zippered key pocket. The Club will be available June 1st.

The $65 Fixed Shirt will surely be a staple shop-shirt for upscale bike repair establishments. It’s a button down short-sleeve shirt made from double-brushed cotton with articulated features that offer comfort when commuting or test riding a freshly tuned bike.

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