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New jersey pays homage to Giro d’Italia’s forgotten maglia nera last rider jersey

Rapha have a cunning ability to pay homage to the history of cycle sport and their latest design, a collaboration with Sir Paul Smith, is inspired by the Maglia Nera, a black jersey that denoted the last rider to finish the Giro d’Italia. Rapha and Sir Paul Smith first started working together in 2010 with a range of clothing, and Paul has since designed the 2013 Giro d’Italia maglia rosa jersey.

The maglia nera was a black jersey given to the last man of the Giro d’Italia between the years 1946 and 1951. You’d think the race would only get serious at the front of the peloton, but bizarrely there was a battle to see who could win this jersey, racers even trying to see who could waste the most time. If you can’t win the race, might as well lose in style I guess. The Tour de France has the Lanterne Rouge by the way, a similar - and more well known - honour to the last rider over the line.

The new Rapha + Paul Smith Black Jersey pays homage to this unique race within a race with the number 81, the number of Luigi Malabrocca, who wore the jersey for two consecutive years, safety pinned to the rear pocket.

The jersey is based on the Club Jersey with the same smartwool construction and fit, with taped shoulder seams. This special edition features an all-black finish with a pink band and a reflective polka dot pattern smattered across the back of the jersey - it’s based on a signature Paul Smith print.

There’s also a laser-perforated Rapha + Paul Smith logos with a high-vis silhouette, the usual three rear pockets plus one zipped pocket.

It's Rapha, so here's an arty black and white photo for you. There's more in the gallery, so go feast your eyes.

And the price. Oh that's £150. Too high? Well, We've just heard from Rapha who tell us they completely sold out overnight, following their release yesterday afternoon. Don't worry though, they have another shipment on the way so as soon as they're back in stock, we'll let you know.

It’s available in the usual six sizes. http://rapha.cc/

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

29 comments

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brackley88 [135 posts] 2 years ago
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To save everyone the time:

"Rapha is so expensive, only a fool would buy this"

"But I love Rapha, like they are my own family, and the kit is so good"

"You can make a better jersey for less than 10p using discarded sheep's wool and clingfilm"

"You seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing"

...there you go, hope that saves some time...

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RacePace [18 posts] 2 years ago
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Haha very good! not sure why everyone gets so worked up about them...

If you like it - buy it

If you hate - buy something else

If you think it's to cheap - buy Assos!

This jersey sold out over night any way, although they will be on ebay for silly money on Friday!

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700c [817 posts] 2 years ago
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Ha ha wonder if the people buying this expensive piece of designer cycle clothing will know it signifies being last?!

Is this deliberate irony, I wonder? No matter, people will still buy it, and it does look good..

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a nice top. Not sure about the price tag (£100 is pricey, but realistic) and the dots.

Just wish I had a trust fund, shares in Goldman Sachs or winning lottery ticket.

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mbthegreat [8 posts] 2 years ago
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Will teach all the "only wear pro kit if you are as good as a pro" people. I am sure I am quite capable of coming last in almost any race. Hell in Giro I could probably quite comfortably lose by several weeks.

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mephistopheles [8 posts] 2 years ago
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RacePace wrote:

This jersey sold out over night any way, although they will be on ebay for silly money on Friday!

Seems to have sold out a bit too quickly. I imagine that a few people have ordered loads of these and as said will try to sell them on ebay for a profit. This seems to have happened with Rapha’s limited edition Team Sky commemoration T-Shirts. Sell out quickly then loads can be found on ebay at high prices  2

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David Arthur @d... [652 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes, Rapha sold out of these jerseys overnight, that's how popular they been. They tell me they have another shipment on the way so they should be back in stock soon

Seems plenty of people aren't put off by the price then...

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dave atkinson [6142 posts] 2 years ago
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Maybe we should have added a knob gag, that seems to move the discussion away from the price  39

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 2 years ago
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mephistopheles wrote:
RacePace wrote:

This jersey sold out over night any way, although they will be on ebay for silly money on Friday!

This seems to have happened with Rapha’s limited edition Team Sky commemoration T-Shirts. Sell out quickly then loads can be found on ebay at high prices  2

They can also be found on my bedroom floor. Best get a wash on  3

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700c [817 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

Maybe we should have added a knob gag, that seems to move the discussion away from the price  39

Ha, in this context, much more appropriate!  3

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racingcondor [153 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm with Colin on this.

It's a lovely top and as a limited Paul Smith / Rapha run there was always going to be a markup but I just don't have that much cash to burn on what's essentailly a fashion item. That said, they sold out in no time at all so clearly they got it right for their target audiance.

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andystorey [19 posts] 2 years ago
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If you wish to save yourself £85 and buy an OFFICIALLY LICENSED product (unlike the one above) take a look at this offering from Santini that we sell at Prendas.

http://www.prendas.co.uk/details.asp?ID=3300

It's technical wool blend, is made in Italy and is £65 post free in the UK.

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Dr_Lex [239 posts] 2 years ago
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andystorey wrote:

If you wish to save yourself £85 and buy an OFFICIALLY LICENSED product (unlike the one above) take a look at this offering from Santini that we sell at Prendas.

http://www.prendas.co.uk/details.asp?ID=3300

It's technical wool blend, is made in Italy and is £65 post free in the UK.

It'll also arrive the next day, unlike most Rapha orders.
I've been very impressed with the price, service and advice offered by Prendas. I realise that most readers here will know them, but for those who don't, go browse their website!

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Joselito [160 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

Maybe we should have added a knob gag, that seems to move the discussion away from the price  39

Is there a purple helmet available?

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks lovely.

Some great looking retro kit on that prendas site as well.

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shay cycles [315 posts] 2 years ago
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Of course finishing last in the Giro is a much greater achievement than many will realise.

Just to get around the 3 week tour and stay within time limits is beyond the reach of many professionals and simply to finish is the mark of a very good professional.

So comments about a jersey for "loosing " need to be taken in context.

I'm fairly sure however that none of this matters to those who buy the jersey, all that matters really is that they are happy with it.  1

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chrisrhayes [6 posts] 2 years ago
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I love Image 9  3

Someone has glued his head to the door of the wardrobe. Maybe the glue is included with for the price.

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700c [817 posts] 2 years ago
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shay cycles wrote:

Of course finishing last in the Giro is a much greater achievement than many will realise

So comments about a jersey for "loosing " need to be taken in context.

Well obviously no one's disputing the feat of completing a 3 week stage race, I was just amused by fashionistas shelling out £150 for a Jersey symbolising coming last and perhaps not realising it..

Anyway, now really tempted by the Prendas version, at a price I might be able to justify..

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Bigringrider [177 posts] 2 years ago
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Quite surprised the ‘why don’t they make them more visible to drivers’ YJA’s haven’t been on yet. Give it time...

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robert_obrien [118 posts] 2 years ago
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Giro di genItalia? Knoblia Rosa (if you forget your chamois butter)?
I'm sure its nice and I would go for one of the Country Jerseys if they had it in my size (Ireland on the basis of colour). But I would not expect to explain the '81' to anyone and for them to be able to keep a straight face.

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Joselito [160 posts] 2 years ago
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robert_obrien wrote:

Giro di genItalia?

Applauds

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David Arthur @d... [652 posts] 2 years ago
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iamelectron wrote:

Quite surprised the ‘why don’t they make them more visible to drivers’ YJA’s haven’t been on yet. Give it time...

They're all over on the howies story tearing their hair out

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neilv [8 posts] 2 years ago
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There is a lot over priced cycling gear around and some pretty awful nasty lycra.

As a few people have said if you like it (and can afford to buy it) if not don't.

I have some Rapha jerseys and they have lasted longer and look better (and quite honestly are nicer to wear) than a lot of other cycling stuff I own. Also their customer service has been excellent in my experience. One of my jerseys is six years old and looks brand new.

Oh and they are a British company doing well. Which should be celebrated and supported.......

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shay cycles [315 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm amused also and I also like the Prendas one.  39

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jijiandnoah [50 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow, took a deep breath as I got to the comments as I'm so used to the predictable RAPHA ARE EVIL!! etc etc posts but things seem surprisingly restrained

FWIW I quite like it, I like a lot of Paul Smith's designs generally and not just in relation to cycling - although sadly as with his menswear this is a little too pricey for me. Still - if you have the cash it's nice looking jersey and I love the story behind it

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Ham-planet [112 posts] 2 years ago
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It just wouldn't be a Rapha photoshoot without someone riding mouth agape.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

Maybe we should have added a knob gag, that seems to move the discussion away from the price  39

If you can some how connect a knob gag with certain rapha wearers. By all means do it. GO ON, you know you want to  19

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dave atkinson [6142 posts] 2 years ago
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given the demise of the iron lady, maybe we've taken our foot off the capitalist gas a bit? surely if they all sold out in a night the jersey was too cheap, not too expensive...

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 2 years ago
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Just looked up the price of the TDF Grand Depart shirt PS did for Rapha in 2007... £175 but bloody hell it was a thing of beauty.

I ummmed and ahhhhed but I couldn't justify it, wish now I had.

So Rapha/PS one-off Grand Tour collaborations have come down in price  3