L'Etape is a new internet clothing company from the Netherlands, with a twist: every month they'll announce a new design of jersey and shorts and they'll only be available to order for a maximum of two weeks. After that, they're gone.
It's an intriguing idea for those who want something a bit more exclusive that the same Assos and Rapha gear everyone else is wearing.
L'Etape is kicking off with three designs: 13 celebrates the tradition of pinning on your race number upside-down if you draw 13; Hall of Fame gets inspiration from the painting of riders' names on the road on mountain stages; and Put the Hammer Down says 'Allez!' to the breakaway specialists who animate races. They're available to order until March 10.
Hall of Fame
Each edition will set you back €229.00 for a jersey and shorts, about £170 at today's exchange rate. That's not cheap, but it's not outrageous either, and shipping anywhere in the world is included.
Put the Hammer Down
The clothing's made in Italy and L'Etape claims only top-quality materials and pad are used. If they deliver on that promise then the price is, well, not exactly a bargain, but very decent value.
As well as the men's kit you'd expect from a start-up company, L'Etape are offfering their shorts and jerseys in women's cuts from the off.
Just in time for the cobbled classics, their next design will be Pavé:
L'Etape's Pavé design will be available to order from March 10-24.
As you'd expect, there's a promotional video too:
For all the info, take a look at Letape.nl
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.