Rapha ousts Adidas at Team Sky
British cyclewear manufacturer Rapha Performance Roadwear has signed a deal to become the official clothing provider to Tour de France-winning British cycling team Sky Pro Cycling.
The new four-year deal will kick in at the beginning of the 2013 season, after the team's current deal with Adidas expires.
According to a short release announcing the deal, 'Rapha will develop a full collection of top-end, high-performance racing and training kit and off-bike dress for both riders and staff. The Rapha offering will also extend to the best selection of riding and fan wear for supporters of Team Sky.'
“We are delighted that, after only eight years as a business, we have been chosen by Team Sky, the world’s number one team, as their partner. We share their passion for performance and team ethic and are enthusiastic to inspire and engage a wider fan base around the globe," said Rapha founder and chief executive Simon Mottram.
“Team Sky has achieved this year’s level of success because of a strong and steady vision to find improvement at every level to help our riders win. I see Rapha joining us next year as another step in that direction. They share our ambition and vision for cycling," said Sky team principal Dave Brailsford.
Rapha, which already sponsors a second-tier cycling team in the UK, is a specialist cycling manufacturer and is likely to design and produce all items of the new Sky kit itself.
This is in contrast to German sportswear giant Adidas, which, according to a recent SportsPro interview with Sky Pro Cycling's head of operations Carsten Jeppesen, often outsourced its cycling manufacturing to specialist 'white-labelling' outlets in Italy.
"Some of it is made in Italy through Moa," Jeppesen said. "They make a lot of bike kit for different brands. So you do get a set of gloves that are made somewhere, and maybe they have another factory that is Adidas-approved that makes something else. The expertise comes from Adidas, but they get it manufactured wherever there is manufacturing expertise. They outsource it."
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