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Italian clothing firm gets money-can't-buy publicity as riders from teams kitted out by rivals sport its jersey to beat the elements

So, who won Milan-San Remo yesterday? Well, no prizes for giving the answer Gerald Ciolek of MTN-Qhubeka. But there was plenty of reason for the Prosecco corks to be popping at the HQ of Italian cycle clothing firm Castelli as the snow and rain gave it the kind of publicity money just can't buy, with dozens of riders from teams sponsored by other clothing firms opting for its Gabba jersey to protect them from the elements.

Eagle-eyed fans would have noticed the prevalence of the black Castelli jerseys, mostly unbadged, in the peloton once racing resumed on the Ligurian riviera yesterday, and the trend of riders from non-sponsored teams wearing its Gabba jerseys when conditions take a turn for the worse is one that Castelli in the UK devoted a blog post to earlier this month, including pictures of riders snapped wearing it.

Castelli says:

What is the ultimate product endorsement? What you read on the forums, what a review in a magazine says? What you hear at a coffee stop? When do you really know that a product is REALLY good?  Well for us the ultimate endorsement is when a Pro pays to use a non-sponsored product or other brands start copying you. You then know that this isn’t just a good product its a great product. And the Castelli Gabba Jersey is the greatest of them all

Sharp eyes will notice how many pro riders from other teams use the original Gabba with the logos blacked out. Some other brands have tried to copy it, but pros know they’re at a disadvantage if they don’t have a real Gabba. Products like the Gabba WS Jersey define Castelli. Based on pro rider needs, created to offer a tangible competitive advantage, and developed in a no-compromise pursuit of performance.

One rider racing Milan-San Remo yesterday who is paid to wear the jersey is Garmin-Sharp's David Millar, and he and his team mates are big fans of it, as this video makes clear.

As for that name, Gabba? It's nothing to do with the Ramones or the cricket ground in Brisbane, but rather is a nod to former Cervelo TestTeam rider Gabriel Rasch - now with Team Sky, and another who rode Milan-San Remo yesterday - who came up with the idea for the garment, as Castelli says:

It began in 2009 when a focus group of Cervélo TestTeam riders worked with our engineers to develop and improve clothing for cold and wet conditions. During one of these sessions, CTT rider Gabriel Rasch, nickname Gabba, came up with the idea of a stretchy, formfitting short-sleeve rain jersey that could be paired with the water-resistant Nanoflex arm warmers to create an outfit that was perfectly geared to the foul weather of the Spring Classics.

 

 

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.

21 comments

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othello [379 posts] 3 years ago
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I see that Ian Stannard wore one rather than his team issue Rapha top  4

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David Arthur @d... [701 posts] 3 years ago
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I wore my Gabba yesterday as well, though in slightly less challenging conditions

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Colin Peyresourde [1750 posts] 3 years ago
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It really is a good top. Surprised that other companies don't try to compete in that area. Much cheaper in the US.

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sorebones [139 posts] 3 years ago
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I have a short sleeve version. Teamed up with Castelli nano flex arm warmers it is perfect for the British spring. Even after persistent rain soaks through it does a great job of keeping you warm, cannot recommend it highly enough.

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crikey [1252 posts] 3 years ago
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Good call road.cc!

I spent the day watching and saying 'That's a Gabba jacket, and that's a Gabba jacket, and so is that!'

I did this quietly of course, my wife is surprisingly uninterested in the minutiae of wet weather road racing, Bless her.

I can only echo the pro cyclists; best jacket I've ever used in 25 years of riding and racing, got the long and short sleeved version.

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mulgabill [10 posts] 3 years ago
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sorebones wrote:

I have a short sleeve version. Teamed up with Castelli nano flex arm warmers it is perfect for the British spring. Even after persistent rain soaks through it does a great job of keeping you warm, cannot recommend it highly enough.

what is this "British Spring"? something that Ian Stannard has in his legs?

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purplecup [217 posts] 3 years ago
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did any of them have aldi tops on?  4

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mrmo [2088 posts] 3 years ago
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serious question, if i was looking at a top for this time of year, would you get a Gabba or a mortirolo? assuming you can only have one?

my Assos airblock has pretty much had it after 7 years of very heavy use. and considering what best to replace it with,

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crikey [1252 posts] 3 years ago
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I've had jackets from the (very) old foam lined 7-11 through the wool sleeved nylon fronted Ton-Ton Tapis, numerous boil-in-the-bag versions from every manufacturer, Alexa versions of the Assos waterproof, Castelli Gore-Tex Paclite, Castelli Helium, plus windproofs from Mavic, Provision, Castelli and the same Assos windjacket...

...and the Gabba jacket is the best thing I've ever used.

It's not any kind of magic; you can get too warm if you wear it on the wrong day, or if the weather brightens up more than you expect. You can get too cold as well if you underestimate the temperature, but for general spring, autumn, rubbish summer and wet winter riding, it works better than anything else.

I've used mine for every ride for the last 20 weeks; sometimes the long sleeve with added gilet, sometimes the short sleeve with armwarmers.

I think the use of it by pro cyclists who are not sponsored by Castelli speaks volumes; Rapha will have an alternative because they have been embarrassed...

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Bigringrider [214 posts] 3 years ago
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OPQ were wearing the blacker than black Vermarc/Santini Acquazero and apart from Stanard's brief donning of the Gabba the rest of Team Sky were wearing a combination of Pro Team Jackets (a seriously nice bit of kit) and Race Capes. I very much doubt Rapha are quaking in their boots.

Lots of M-SR jacket pron here http://www.flickr.com/photos/smashred/sets/72157633022964483/with/856783...

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crikey [1252 posts] 3 years ago
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Hmmm... Stannards 'brief' donning began in Milan...
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/photos/gallery-on-the-startline-at-mlian...

Trust me, Rapha will have an alternative soon.

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Bigringrider [214 posts] 3 years ago
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Lotto were wearing the all black Vermarc jersey/jacket too.

So...a few non Garmin riders wore the odd Gabba jersey. Not really headline news  22

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crikey [1252 posts] 3 years ago
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When they start wearing Rapha stuff instead of their sponsored gear you'll be sure to let us know, right?  3

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Leviathan [2141 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyone wondered why Millar was subtitled? I know he is Scottish but so was Miss Jean Brody, Trainspotting this is not.

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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From another pic I saw it seemed another SKY rider, possibly Geraint Thomas, was also donning a Gabba. And some on the Astana team, and the AG2R team, and...

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phax71 [287 posts] 3 years ago
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So Mr Millar, is that "badass" or "badarse" , what , what, what, don't you know old chap?

Oh and someone's gonna lose theire pump at 2.32 in ...

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astrapower [3 posts] 3 years ago
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Saw David Brailsford in the Rapha Cafe yesterday after the Catalunya stage looking at the jackets. Probably just coincidence but maybe he was inspecting the range after MSR.

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mrmo [2088 posts] 3 years ago
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if you look at the photos Taylor Phinney might be in a Gabba, at least at the start, Bosan-Hagan, looks like he has one under his Norway champions jersey.

I would say it does say something, riders are paid to wear what the sponsors make, for them to be wearing none sponsored kit, maybe in breach of agreements, hiding sponsors logos etc. does suggest that they like the kit. Can only be a short time before others introduce very similar tops. My guess would be to look at the AW13/14 season.

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seanieh66 [196 posts] 3 years ago
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Sadly no call for this wunderkit here in sweaty Singapore  2

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newsonoid [16 posts] 3 years ago
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Who did the subtitles?
At 36 secs he says 'figure hugging' not 'thicker, hugging' !

Looks like a great jacket, might get me one.

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Valentino [17 posts] 3 years ago
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Word is that with Gabba himself at Sky now, Rapha has purchased rights to use the Castelli patents for the Gabba range.