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.