Milan-San Remo's other winner - Castelli's Gabba jersey (+ video)

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

by Simon_MacMichael   March 18, 2013  

Milan-San Remo 2013 riding in the rain (picture Fabio Ferrari, LaPresse, RCS Sport)

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.



21 user comments

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I see that Ian Stannard wore one rather than his team issue Rapha top Big Grin

othello's picture

posted by othello [336 posts]
18th March 2013 - 16:54


I wore my Gabba yesterday as well, though in slightly less challenging conditions

David Arthur @davearthur's picture

posted by David Arthur @d... [2216 posts]
18th March 2013 - 17:03


It really is a good top. Surprised that other companies don't try to compete in that area. Much cheaper in the US.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1573 posts]
18th March 2013 - 17:59


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.

posted by sorebones [130 posts]
18th March 2013 - 18:20


Good call!

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.

posted by crikey [1090 posts]
18th March 2013 - 19:18


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?

posted by mulgabill [10 posts]
18th March 2013 - 20:51


did any of them have aldi tops on? Big Grin

purplecup's picture

posted by purplecup [233 posts]
18th March 2013 - 20:57


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,

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1858 posts]
18th March 2013 - 21:08


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...

posted by crikey [1090 posts]
18th March 2013 - 21:23


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

posted by iamelectron [149 posts]
18th March 2013 - 22:23


Hmmm... Stannards 'brief' donning began in Milan...

Trust me, Rapha will have an alternative soon.

posted by crikey [1090 posts]
18th March 2013 - 22:51


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 Plain Face

posted by iamelectron [149 posts]
18th March 2013 - 23:36


When they start wearing Rapha stuff instead of their sponsored gear you'll be sure to let us know, right? Wink

posted by crikey [1090 posts]
18th March 2013 - 23:45


Anyone wondered why Millar was subtitled? I know he is Scottish but so was Miss Jean Brody, Trainspotting this is not.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1743 posts]
19th March 2013 - 0:07


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...

posted by Metjas [345 posts]
19th March 2013 - 10:28


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 ...

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [324 posts]
19th March 2013 - 10:31


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.

posted by astrapower [5 posts]
19th March 2013 - 12:36


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.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1858 posts]
19th March 2013 - 14:08


Sadly no call for this wunderkit here in sweaty Singapore Sad


posted by seanieh66 [197 posts]
20th March 2013 - 7:33


Who did the subtitles?
At 36 secs he says 'figure hugging' not 'thicker, hugging' !

Looks like a great jacket, might get me one.

newsonoid's picture

posted by newsonoid [16 posts]
20th March 2013 - 13:36


Word is that with Gabba himself at Sky now, Rapha has purchased rights to use the Castelli patents for the Gabba range.

posted by Valentino [17 posts]
20th March 2013 - 15:12