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Twelve for 2012
1. Worldwide Road Rides
As road cycling continues to engulf the planet with more people discovering uncharted roads and terrain, Rapha will be leading the field with a global expansion of the Rapha Continental. Expect to see films and tales of exploration from Japan, Australia, Europe, the UK, and – of course – North America.
There will also be plenty of Gentlemen’s Rides and Races (women welcome, naturally) in all these territories. There’s no excuse not to ride with us in 2012.
2. To Hell Once More
The Paris-Roubaix Challenge was a thrilling success this year and the Hell of the North-inspired ride will once again be open to amateur competitors. Rapha will be there to make the experience one of the best sportives in the world.
And not forgetting the third edition of Rapha’s very own version of L'Enfer du Nord – a tribute ride through the lanes and 'gravé' sectors of Hertfordshire. Then back to town in time for the pro race on the big screen (frites and Trappist beers compulsory).
3. The Oldest Classic
Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not only the oldest but possibly the best one day race in existence. This year Rapha, in association with ASO and Golazo, bring you La Doyenne Classique, the amateur version of the Ardennes monument. Held the day before the pro race, this sportive will be a racing into history.
4. Young Blood
A new direction for the best name in British racing next season. As part of Rapha, Condor and Sharp’s ambition to enrich the culture of road racing in the UK, the boys in black will focus on the development of younger riders, mentored by director John Herety and his experienced lieutenants. 2011 was the most successful season ever for the team, so 2012 will be a new challenge for a fresh looking squad.
5. Cool in the Heat
We love the Giro. No one is more passionate about racing than the tifosi and the Corsa Rosa always signals the start of the summer. Blue skies, endless roads and scorching weather awaits and Rapha’s forthcoming collection of products for summer 2012 have been designed to offer even greater performance in the heat. Forza.
6. In Utopia Cycle Clubs Abound
Spring and Summer signals the return of the great road races and the best place to watch these will be Rapha’s Cycle Clubs. With San Francisco CC now a permanent feature of the city, another three will open in 2012, including a new residence in London, the return of the Mobile Cycle Club in Europe and CC Mallorca. Expect great rides, exciting events, food, coffee and more. Rapha Cycle Clubs will be the home of road racing in 2012.
7. The Yellow Jersey
We can’t forget the world’s biggest race. Not only will you be able to watch every stage of the Tour at a Rapha Cycle Club but you'll also be able to experience the drama and suffering yourself. Rapha are again working with A.S.O. to bring two of the Tour's grandest mountain stages to amateur road riders in the shape of two Etape routes. These will be accompanied by exclusive Rapha products and a special edition Sportwool jersey celebrating the queen Pyrenean stage that tackles the infamous Circle of Death.
8. Blue, Red, Black, Yellow and Green.
As a British company we must, of course, give Mark Cavendish a nod of respect. His success is truly admirable and to see him claim the rainbow jersey, with such an emphatic performance from the GB team, was the icing on the proverbial cake. And provided Cav stays off the cake and shines for his new outfit, Team Sky, we might see a few more green jerseys and possibly some Olympic gold at London 2012.
9. Giro di Lombardia
This year the Ride of the Falling Leaves has a new September slot, so the leaves will just be beginning to drop as this historic monument rolls out of Milan. It’s a race Rapha have always enjoyed and in 2012 a special edition jersey will be produced to pay tribute to this most romantic of classics.
10. Super Cross
Unless you have been out at sea for the last few months, you won’t have failed to notice Rapha’s Super Cross series took place here in the UK. A great success that matched the party atmosphere and intense competition that are features of Belgian and North American cross races, expect the second running of the Super Cross series to be even bigger and better (with even more cowbells).
11. Cross my Heart
Rapha-FOCUS are arguably the hottest property in US cyclocross right now, with the recently crowned National Champion Jeremy Powers topping the USGP rankings. We can expect more of the same from the candystriped assassins, and the energy displayed by these riders – Powers, Zach McDonald, Chris Jones, as well as Julie Krazniak among the Elite women – is exactly what the fans want to see. Next up is the Worlds in Koksijde at the end of January. Next season will also witness the World Championships on home soil, in Louisville, Kentucky.
12. The Sport of the Future
With more UCI races taking place further afield, and new advances in technology and how we share information, 2012 is sure to be another bumper year for road racing and riding. Rapha will be there for every pedal stroke and we hope you will join us.