Sky Pro Cycling has announced that Rapha is to be Team Sky’s official clothing supplier for four years commencing January 2013.
The London-based firm will provide a full range of clothing and accessories for the team, including racewear, training kit, and clothing for riders while off the bike and for team staff.
Rapha will also be producing a selection of both cycle and casual clothing for supporters of the team, which has been supplied by German sportswear giant Adidas for the last three years.
“We are delighted that, after only eight years as a business, we have been chosen by Team Sky, the world’s number one team, as their partner,” commented Rapha’s founder and Chief Executive, Simon Mottram.
“We share their passion for performance and team ethic and are enthusiastic to inspire and engage a wider fan base around the globe.”
Sky’s Team Principal, Dave Brailsford, said: “Team Sky has achieved this year’s level of success because of a strong and steady vision to find improvement at every level to help our riders win.
“I see Rapha joining us next year as another step in that direction. They share our ambition and vision for cycling.”
The Sky Pro Cycling collection will go on sale in January 2013 both through the Rapha website and through certain cycling retailers both in the UK and internationally.
Rapha of course is a brand that polarises attitudes not least because of the pricing of its ranges, and certainly some of the initial reaction we've seen from fans is summed up by a tweet from Gavin Murdock who asks whether anyone other than the pros will actually be able to afford the Team Sky kit?
While exclusivity has always been part of Rapha's brand strategy, supplying such a high profile team is something that takes them into the mainstream so it will be interesting to see how - and whether - they address that.
The existing Adidias kit certainly isn't the cheapest out there, although at around £65 the jerseys retail at a little under half the cost of a Rapha Condor Sharp jersey, available on the Rapha website for £140.
All Rapha will tell us for now is that "out of respect for the current sponsor" no further details will be revealed until January.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.