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Rapha and Team Sky
Rapha are proud to present the first Team Sky products of the 2013 season. Rapha has been creating the world’s finest cycling clothing and accessories since 2004. Over the next four years, working with the world’s number one team, Rapha will take performance, function and style for road cyclists to the next level. We are incredibly excited to be official partners with Team Sky and look forward to the season ahead.
The Rapha and Team Sky collection has been created to meet the very highest standards set by the riders of the world’s leading cycling team. Echoing Team Sky’s renowned attention to detail, Rapha’s race-grade apparel boasts proprietary technical fabrics and features for unrivalled levels of comfort and performance, while off the bike products feature luxury materials, the finest components and functional style.
The Team Sky collection, created for both the team and their supporters, will consist of products across a range of price points; from replica jerseys, t-shirts and scarves, to the same performance race kit as used by the professionals.
Pro Team products
Race-grade apparel created for the world’s leading pro riders. Made from proprietary fabrics and constructed for unrivalled comfort and performance.
Replica and special-edition jerseys and bib shorts featuring Rapha fit and functionality in distinctive Team Sky colourways.
An exclusive range of apparel and accessories to help you follow the world’s leading cycling team in style.
Replica jersey and high-performance bib shorts tailored specifically for women riders.
Classic Rapha styling, Team Sky colourways, all sized for junior riders. Ages 4-12 years.
A collection of training essentials and stylish Team Sky accessories.
Rapha’s partnership with Team Sky, at the highest level of the sport, is an incredible opportunity and the best possible endorsement of the quality and performance of Rapha products. Team Sky’s pioneering approach is renowned for never compromising on any detail of preparation and equipment and, as such, fits perfectly with Rapha’s ambitions to continue delivering the finest cycling apparel in the world. Working with the complete team of riders, directors and staff of Team Sky will enable Rapha to develop products to an even higher standard, both on and off the bike. Doing so will help us connect with even more fans of the sport. Rapha are proud and excited to be an official partner of Team Sky.
MALLORCA — Words by Slate Olson
It is the 15th of December and Team Sky are already 10 days into their pre-season training camp on the island of Mallorca. If it weren’t for the staff and riders of the world’s number-one cycling team, the Vanity Hotel Golf in Alcudia would be closed. Outside the main entrance sits a small fleet of black-and-blue vehicles. Inside, a massive banner proudly reads: ‘Welcome Back Team Sky’. It is the third year running the team have based themselves here and where their 2013 campaign begins.
Cycling fans love to hear about the team-building exercises that professional riders are reported to undertake in order to foster team spirit; fierce paintball matches, for example, or skiing trips. There hasn’t been anything like that at Team Sky’s camp. Instead, the riders and staff are reacquainting themselves with old teammates and getting to know new ones the best way they know – by riding together. For the young, new faces like Joe Dombrowski, Ian Boswell and Josh Edmondson, this is their introduction to the highest level of the sport. To more seasoned riders like Gabriel Rasch, Dario Cataldo, David Lopez, and Vasil Kiryienka, it’s safe to say this pre-season camp bears little resemblance to anything they’ve done during their time with other elite teams.
There are two distinct riding groups: the General Classification or ‘GC’ riders, who will be targeting stage rages; and a separate group preparing for the Classics. Today, the schedule for the Classics group has them doing a seven-hour ride with intervals of efforts. The GC group is on a hard five-hour day. These are big sessions for both groups and you can see the effect on their faces when they return. As the riders head inside to shower and refuel, the performance staff quickly collect computers and start to look at the numbers. All this is part of Team Sky’s strategy to give its riders the best chance of achieving their full potential. This is the Team Sky way. At its centre is Performance Manager Rod Ellingworth, the man responsible for every aspect of building and honing the performance of the riders. I spoke to Ellingworth to find out more about the camp, as well as the team’s approach to the first races of the season.
SO: This doesn’t feel like a typical team-building camp; you’re not hiking through forests or doing ‘trust falls’. Tell us about the Team Sky approach?
RE: You can do team-building exercises through things other than cycling but as we don’t actually spend that much time together, we’re better off riding together. We don’t do that with the team as much as maybe we could, so just being here riding bikes is good team building. Having the full run of a hotel like this, that is exclusive to us, means we can do whatever we want to do.
You have the two different groups of riders, the Classics group and GC group. What are the differences in how each is approaching the camp?
We haven’t won any Classics and we want to take them on now properly. I think we understand a bit more of what the Classics are all about, physically speaking. The idea is to get these guys ready for the end of March and to do that, the key thing is starting them as a team a little earlier. We have 10 riders who will be doing the same race programme and that we’ve identified already.
Obviously the GC group’s main objectives are a little further down the line. The first goal is the Giro, in May. The Classics guys have to be ready in March, so that alone gives you the difference of their training load at this point. You’ll find, as well, that the climbers tend to be guys from warmer climates, so trying to get them to train as hard as the Classics guys this time of year wouldn’t be the right thing to do.
The difference isn’t so much in the hours but the intensity. The Classics group are doing specific work for the one-day races, whereas the GC guys are doing normal, steadier days but with a few efforts. Nothing all that demanding, just more hours and steady climbing as a group. I think for this group, more than anything, it’s about getting to know each other. We’ve got quite a few new people in that team.
Is there anything the Classics group are doing off the bike as part of their training?
As part of the group’s team building we’re spending a bit more time off the bike in meetings. That way they come to the line with the same understanding and in the same mindset, knowing exactly what the goal is. We’ve started that now, in December, for races that start at the end of March and beginning of April. Getting that understanding off the bike is just as important. The riders need to know why we’re doing this or that, lots of different things. It gets them talking, so they’re communicating better and more able to understand one another.
You have your own way of talking about things at Team Sky. Do you have different philosophies for the Classics and GC guys?
Not really. What we’ve sort of said going forward is ‘quality, not quantity’. Do high-quality work instead of a large quantity just for the sake of it. Let’s win quality races. I think losing somebody like Mark Cavendish means we’re not going to win as many races but we’re striving to win better races. You look at the WorldTour programme and there are still a lot of races that we haven’t won.
The Classics team will be going to Belgium before Christmas. Tell us about that.
That’s still a part of camp and it’s really to focus on the younger riders. We’ve got a strong group of young guys who believe they can be Classics riders. They’re not from Belgium and so aren’t able to hit the climbs regularly. Having knowledge of those climbs and knowledge of the turns going into them is important. It’s two days of riding where they’re not doing more than a few hours, so they really get to know the area.
There may be riders who live in that part of the world who are riding the courses but I doubt there are any other teams doing this right now. I’m pretty sure teams like Quick Step will be doing certain things with some of their younger guys and obviously they highlight some guys who could potentially get results.
You won the Tour de France last year and want to repeat that in 2013, as well as targeting the Giro. What would constitute success at the end of this Classics campaign?
For me, this is more of an 18-month project. Whether we win or not in 2013, we might make some big alterations between 2013 and 2014 because I think there are always things you could do differently to better prepare riders for the Classics. It’s an ongoing process. Obviously, it would be great if we can win either Flanders or Roubaix. Those are the ones we want to win most.