With the European road season getting going in earnest, Team Sky and its clothing sponsor Rapha have launched a Season Guide to racing in 2013 that will evoke a bit of nostalgia among many of us of a certain age by not only setting out the details of cycling’s big races and facts and figures about them, but also doubling up as a sticker album.
The stickers, it has to be said, are less inspired by the Panini albums of old though – no need to swap a double of Richie Porte for that elusive Bernie Eisel – and instead are more reminiscent of old hotel luggage labels, similar to those reproduced in a set of postcards from Louis Vuitton a couple of years ago. We like them.
If you’re intent on collecting the full set of stickers, there’s a couple of ways to go about it. While the Season Guide, which costs £5, comes with ones for the opening three races of the season, to get your hands on the rest you’ll either have to find the Rapha rep at the race in question, or else order something from Rapha and it will arrive with the sticker for whichever the current event happens to be.
Rapha is also selling a limited edition ‘La Primavera’ t-shirt celebrating Milan-San Remo.Costing £30, the green cotton, slim-fit t-shirt is designed with riding in mind – it’s cut longer at the back to sit right when you’re on the bike, and has a rear pocket, a La Primavera logo on the chest, in the same design as the sticker.
It also has an armband in a darker shade of green on one sleeve and an embroidered Italian tricolore on the other. There’s also a discreet Sky Procycling logo just below the collar at the rear.
Going back to the Season Guide, even without the stickers, a fiver strikes us as decent value, although of course you will end up forking out a lot more if you’re intent on completing the collection, whether on travel and accommodation, or on ordering Rapha kit.
Before anyone points it out, yes, we know Lidl does sticker albums too, and they cost a fifth of the price at 99p – but the only wheels you’ll find are in the one titled Cars, the only saddles you'll see are in the Horses album, and we reckon it's a safe bet the Pirates collection doesn’t have anything to do with Marco Pantani.
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.