First pictures released of Rapha Team Sky jersey (+ video)
Wiggo and co model British ProTeam's new kit
The first pictures have been released of the Rapha kit that Team Sky will be wearing this season, as the North London-based clothing firm takes over from Adidas as official kit supplier for the next four years.
The most obvious change is that the blue stripe, formerly across the chest, now becomes an armband, a signature detail of Rapha kit from its very first jerseys eight years ago.
It's impossible to tell of course whether that white panel on the back, with its signature "thin blue line" is still there. That white panel wasn't just there for aesthetic purposes though - it was chosen in to deflect heat, rather than absorb it as black does.
The union flag design on the cuff of Bradley Wiggins' right sleeve is similar to one that previously appeared on Rapha's Great Britain country jersey - in WIggins' case, it marks him out as a former national champion.
Also pictured are the Norwegian and British national champions' jerseys modelled by their respective holders, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ian Stannard.
Team Sky and Rapha have also released a short video this morning. More details of the kit and the off-the-bike rangs that goes with it will emerge in the coming days - the kit will go on sale to the public this Friday 4th January through the Rapha website and selected outlets.
Sky's Team Principal Dave Brailsford commented: “Team Sky’s successes over the last three years have been achieved because of a strong and steady vision to find improvement at every level to help our riders win. I see Rapha joining us as another step in that direction. They share our ambition and vision for cycling.”
In an open letter published on the Rapha website this morning, the company's founder and chief executive Simon Mottram said:
I have always been captivated by the sport of road racing; the riders, the races, the landmarks and the stories have fascinated and inspired me in equal measure. From the day Rapha launched in July 2004, we have sought to bring the beauty, suffering and glory of this wonderful sport to more people and to honour it with the finest cycling products and services.
Today, I am proud to mark the start of Rapha’s official partnership with Team Sky, the world's number-one professional racing team. This partnership, bringing us closer to the races, riders and drama at the highest level of our sport, is an incredible opportunity.
I have known Team Sky’s principal, Dave Brailsford, since he first began to establish the team he presides over today. His progressive philosophy and drive within the sport resonated with me then and continues to serve as an inspiration. For Dave and his team to have chosen Rapha as their clothing partner is the best possible endorsement of the quality and performance of our products.
The success and enjoyment we’ve had working with the Rapha Condor and Rapha-FOCUS teams in recent years has set us up for this next step. We remain committed to continuing those relationships, just as we look forward to forging more through this exciting new partnership.
The richness of insights and experience that will come from working with the complete team of riders, directors and staff at Team Sky will help us develop our products to new levels and help create an even greater connection with fans of the sport. Just as we have always done for our customers, we look forward to continuing to improve performance and style, both on and off the bike, for the riders of Team Sky.
It’s going to be an amazing ride.