Girona range adds new paragraph to David Millar's Chpt3

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David Millar launched Chpt3 on the world as a kickback against the pro peloton. After retiring from an 18-year career during which he could only really be seen in team kit he not only wanted to ride in something that was happily logo-free, he wanted something that would be impossible to print logos on.

The first Chpt3 collection came in at the very highest end of the cycling apparel market. This was Castelli with knobs on - well buttons actually - designed in cahoots with close friend, Saville Row tailor Timothy Everest, Chpt3's kit had bespoke design touches, including custom buttons and darting. This was more poseur than peloton - and achieved exactly the look Millar was hoping for. 

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The purists couldn't see the point, and some even highlighted the loss of aero benefits to a jersey with buttons on the neck.

Maybe they will be happier with the new Girona collection, Chpt3's idea of everyday training kit. They've used race-weight Castelli Maglia Rosa aero fabric, which is noticeably aero and moisture wicking and styled it up with some class touches unique to Chpt3. The bibs are just as slick and have been fitted with Castelli's Kiss chamois.

Chpt3 is calling this its "third tier", with the first being that dandy Origin kit, and the middle the One More Lap collection. The name Girona relates to the town that Millar and more than 100 professional riders have made their home. 

You can buy the kit here. We'll review it when we get our hands on some. 

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KPP puts a spin on gin with launch collection

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We'll all agree that few things are better than a great day out in the saddle with your mates, but the apres-ride refreshments are a close contender. 

You can't have one without the other for one thing, and the thought of kicking back with a drink and putting your feet up will often make those last painful miles (or kilometres for the purists) more pleasurable. 

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Herein lies the thinking behind the launch collection of boutique women-only cycle brand, KPP, which exists to "celebrate and support female superheroes in lycra." As with all great things, it's starting off small but perfectly formed, with a musette and a pin badge. 

The Spin, Gin, Fin collection takes its inspiration from the post-ride traditions of founder Kitty Pemberton-Platt's women-only group rides. 

“Spin Gin Fin is a playful movement that represents balance. A Spin Gin Fin ride finishes at a train station where you pick up ‘gins in tins’ and enjoy the journey home. Together we bask in the glory of our efforts, feed the endorphins with our favourite tipple and fuel interesting conversation.”

The "boozette" and enamel badge are available now at bykpp.co.uk, where you'll also be able to pick up a limited edition KPP watch released in collaboration with the Camden Watch Company. The brand is firmly rooted in women's cycling - Kitty is co-founder of a Scarpa Racing, a women-only racing team. KPP promises great things for the future, including more product releases.

Sounds like a plan with plenty of fizz. 

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Five great ways to keep up with the 2018 Tour de France

The greatest race of the year is upon us once more and as is standard with the sport of cycle racing, it would take a considerable amount of dedication, not to mention a shedload of spare time, to follow it properly. 

The majority of us are left to pick up on the day's shenanigans via the medium of highlight shows and podcasts, but with so many around these days, the million dollar question is: which one? 

We've found five that are worth a few minutes of your day. 

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1: The Move

People are asking Lance Armstrong if he went off and got married because he's wearing a ring on his wedding finger. Armstrong romantic? Never. That ring he's wearing actually monitors his sleep, via an app. So begins episode three of The Move, where plugs are shameless and the chatter flows like the tequila that sponsors the show. 

This is less a highlights show than Armstrong talk radio, and it's magnetic. Armstrong and his sidekick, JB, just sit back and chat about who's doing what and who's looking impressive and what they think is going to happen as the Tour unfolds. 

Proof that people appreciate more than a monotone commentator to get their Tour lowdown. Oh, and he talks about the racing of course and he relates his own experiences to it. Go figure.

Watch it on Youtube or download the podcast.

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2: GCN

It's all about the roundabouts apparently. Dan Martin has been doing some research about the roundabouts per capita in France and posted it on Twitter. The more roundabouts, the more crashes.

Presenter Dan Lloyd offers up a summary of the racing so far while rounding up cycling in other parts of the world, including the Giro Rossa, the female Giro d'Italia, because there is life outside the Tour de France and some of it is a big deal (and really shouldn't clash).

GCN doesn't appear to be doing stage by stage coverage but you'll get a decent summary of what's happening and you'll feel as if you haven't wasted ten minutes of your life.

Join GCN's 1.4m subscribers here.

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3: Mitchelton Scott

Team Mitchelton Scott's Youtube channel is a mesmerising look at the Tour from the inside. The cameraman is embedded within the team so you get interviews with the DS Matt White, amazing footage from the team car and intimate conversations with the riders, just when they don't really want to talk. 

Mitchelton Scott is an "international team with Aussie DNA" and boasts some faces in its lineup, not least 2017 Paris-Roubaix winner Matt Hayman and amazing Yates brothers, Adam and Simon. 

These little videos promise a warts-and-all account of the 2018 Tour as it unfolds and at around five minutes each, come in bite-sized chunks that you can easily dip into on a break. 

Find the channel here

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4: Le Tour de France

Quite why you would want to watch 20 second clips of each stage as it is happening is really only for you to know, but if you do, head over to the official Youtube channel of Le Tour de France. 

On the plus side, you at least get to stay updated and not all of us have got Sky players that we can sneakily tuck into a corner of our screens. Also, if you just let the clips run, it would be a bit like watching the live coverage anyway. Or just wait for a highlights show in the evening.

You can subscribe to the channel here

5: Rapha race Radio

Three blokes, a camper and a camera and an open brief signed off by Simon Mottram himself to do what the hell they want at various cycling events through the calendar. Rapha Race Radio remains undiscovered by many, and has received a mixed reception from those who have found it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't at least give it a go. At around six minutes per episode you're hardly losing out a lot. 

Race Radio has yet to broadcast from the Tour at the time of writing, but the above trailer featuring outtakes of what has gone before should give you a flavour of what you might be able to expect. 

It's almost gonzo broadcast journalism, an unaffiliated view of what bicycle racing looks like from a fan's perspective, filmed, edited and produced on the fly and as raw as the steaks that riders of old stuck down their shorts as padding. Not to mention the guest appearances of old leather chops himself, Juan Antonio Flecha.

You might not like it, but you'll have to agree there is nothing like it. 

We've found the Last Unicorn and it's a BBUC banger

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You know what it's like, you wait your whole life for a unicorn to come along and then you can't move for them. 

Unicorns are so hot right now, they're on the catwalks and in the collections, but one brand believes unicorns are for life, not just for the fickle hand of fashion. 

BrilliBriliantUnicorn (BBUC) has been around since 2009, naming itself after a Sunday fixed-gear group ride around the streets of Vienna. One gear, one horn, unicorn. 

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The brand has been putting a smile on the face of cycling in Vienna ever since, and its limited edition kits sell out within days. Their final launch of the 2018 season is, aptly, named the Last Unicorn and is going to be harder to get your hands on than unicorn shite.

If you hurry there might be a couple of pieces left.  

Available in men's and women's cuts in navy and olive colourways.

Grab it now at bbuc.co

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How Chris Froome broke the internet in 24 hours

You really couldn't make it up. One minute Chris Froome is looking at watching the Tour de France in the pub because of that Salbutamol sample and the next it's game on, big boy. The man is racing.

The latest and, it looks like conclusive chapter of this sorry episode began on Sunday night (July 1) with the revelation that the Amory Sports Organisation (ASO) was seeking to exercise article 28.1 of its TDF rulebook which gives it the right to ban anyone it feels could damage the reputation of the ASO or the event.

As French newspaper Le Monde broke the news, it was like the dawn chorus. Twitter fired up. 

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It was the moment everyone had been waiting for. All those bottled up feelings about Froome's asthma, the test results from the Vuelta, about how the story broke in the first place, it all came spewing out in an avalanche of birdshit. 

The great and righteous were reminding everyone that Froome was of course a cheat (before any case had been heard) and then there was the reminder that the whole story was a set up from the beginning ...

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And then this morning ...

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... the UCI chimed in and announced it was dropping the case entirely. WTAF said @sophiesmith86 on Twitter, @robhales1 summed it up with a nuke and the i Newspaper failed miserably to spot a spoof account when it sees one and actually printed a tweet from @ukcyclingexpert. 

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Then of course the penny dropped. Of course the ASO knew the UCI was going to drop the case. They wanted to drum up some buzz around the tour while they had the chance and what better way to do it than leak a rumour that they were going to ban Froome? The dirty bastards.

Twitter was one step ahead of them though, wasn't it? No flies on these fuckers. 

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And there we have it. A storm in a teacup perpetuated by a cycling organisation that is rapidly losing grip on its power. Of course we have no proof of this, but then the ASO had no proof Froome had doped and look what they've managed to pull off over the past day or so. 

Now let's talk about clause 28.1 shall we, ASO?

UCI drops doping case against Chris Froome

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Chris Froome is now clear to race the 2018 Tour de France after the UCI dropped its investigation into misuse of salbutamol saying there was "no case to answer".

Only hours earlier, it was reported that the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) was seeking to ban Froome from this year's tour over the unresolved case. 

"Grateful and relieved to finally put this chapter behind me, it has been an emotional 9 months. Thank you to all of those who have supported and believed in me throughout," Froome said in a tweet this morning. 

Last night (Sunday) the ASO was all set to attempt to blackball Froome from competing, with Team Sky said to be preparing an appeal. 

The ASO move preempted any hearing that would have sought to determine Froome's guilt and was believed to focus around protecting the Tour's image. Froome won the Giro d'Italia under a cloud of suspicion over his adverse Salbutamol sample taken during the 2017 Vuelta. 

The ASO had blocked Team Sky’s registration of Froome, according to Le Monde. It referenced article 29 of its rules which, states it “reserves the right to refuse the participation in – or disqualify from – the event, a team or one of its members whose presence is liable to damage the image or reputation of ASO or those of the event”.

This morning's UCI statement finally clarifies the position and exonerates Froome. 

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“The UCI has considered all the relevant evidence in detail (in consultation with its own experts and experts from Wada),” read the statement. “On 28 June 2018, Wada informed the UCI that it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome’s sample results do not constitute an AAF.

“In light of Wada’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on Wada’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome.

Image: Froome ended up dumping his bike and running up Mont Ventoux after a crash on the 2016 Tour de France

WATCH: Rapha finds the answer in new brand campaign

The New Seekers probably had more of a chance of teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony than Rapha has of getting everybody to ride a bike, but that hasn't stopped them trying.

We've had the Rapha Cycling Club, whole calendars of initiatives and events all aimed at furthering founder Simon Mottram's mission of making cycling the biggest sport in the world. 

Today it has raised the bar and unveiled an advert. A bike ride offers a "solution to many of the personal and societal challenges of modern life," says Rapha. That it does - it's no secret to those of us who love cycling. 

Rapha continues, that cycling promotes "reduced carbon emissions and traffic congestion, and a pathway to a mentally and physically healthier population. We believe that cycling, more than any other sport, is unique in its ability to solve problems and help people improve their lives. We believe, in short, that cycling transforms lives."

They do have a point, and the location helps drive it home - the seething, congested, smog-choked metropolis that is LA. But all those tens of thousands of people out there riding bikes right now hardly need reminding. The converted don't need to be told, it's the donut-eating drivers that we've got to win over with this piece of filmmaking. 

This 90-second epiphany produced by LA-based advertising giant Mother follows a cyclist from the filthy, litter-strewn and gridlocked streets of downtown LA with its myriad distractions and dangers out of the city and up through the hills, where along the way he hooks up with some pals to climb way above the city so they can experience a few seconds of enlightenment together before descending back into hell.

It is a truly beautiful, inspiring film, and its release kickstarts a calendar of related events that will promote cycling to all. Rapha’s global Clubhouses will be increasing their riding
schedules and events over the summer to cover a variety of abilities and cycling-based interests. 

But it could raise more questions than it answers, namely: is that a DIY tie-dye Rapha jersey, how do you get that cool lid, and doesn't that bloke in the denim jacket know that he'll get really hot? (yes we know he's Gus Morton and that's his thing. FFS).

 

 

WATCH: Cyclist t-boned by a sheep on Mallorca descent

The cycling in Mallorca is regarded as some of the finest in the world, but even the most idyllic havens for riding can yield unexpected dangers.  

Nick Halifax was descending from Lluc towards Pollenca in April when a pair of sheep bounded into the road directly in front of him. With less than a split second to react and a car coming in the opposite direction, he was given no way out.

The resulting collision wrote off his Trek bike and resulted in a broken collarbone and three broken ribs for Nick. 

Nick, from Southend-on-Sea in Essex, said: "The sheep just came out of nowhere, I had no chance. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital."

"If it wasn't for my Bontrager Mips helmet I don't think I would be here. It took the full impact of the fall and split in two. I reckon it saved my life."

Nick was riding as part of a Ciclos Uno cycling holiday and said his fellow cyclists notified emergency services to the accident. He was rushed by ambulance to the General Hospital in Palma, Mallorca. 

Nick added: "Never in a million years did I think this would happen to me, I'm now having recurring nightmares about killer sheep."

The sheep survived the collision unharmed.

Nuts weather in May: Rapha's Gavia '88 collection references a stinker

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Think this has been a rubbish spring? You'd be right, but it is nowhere near as bad as the top of the Passo di Gavia one day in early May 30 years ago.

Stage 14 of the 1988 Giro was basically a whiteout, with driving blizzards on the Gavia which left the ill-prepared peloton in tatters. It proved a gift for those who had bothered to look at the weather forecast.

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Andy Hampsten was one of them. Already nudging pink before he went into the stage, his team's initiative to go out and get a ski jacket and neoprene gloves proved the marginal gain he needed to make impossible conditions simply unbearable. He ended that stage a legend wearing a pink jersey and went on to become the only American ever to win the Giro d'Italia.

Rapha has commemorated the 30th anniversary of this feat with a capsule collection of Andy Hampsten-inspired stuff that would make any ascent of a mountain in blizzard conditions infinitely more doable. As well as the standard limited edition jersey there is a race cape, neoprene gloves, winter cap, socks, bib shorts and baselayer. Each piece has clever nods to the kit Andy wore on the stage, from Gazetta prints on the baselayer to Team Seven-Eleven inspired graphics. 

This is a collection almost as limited as the Maglia Rosa itself, with a production run in double digits a lot of the time, and it's released, like, 10 minutes ago, so the race is on to grab some. 

Do it. 

Find it here.

(Note: The author of this article still works for Rapha).

It's happening! Again!

A year is a long time in anyone's book, but in terms of digital presence it's an eternity. Over here in the web-o-sphere entire civilisations have blossomed and been extinguished like ants before a tide of boiling water. 

So fast has the year gone in fact that I didn't even realise it had been that long since the last post. Work got in the way you see, and the conflicts of interest inherent with going deep in-brand. 

Now, I have resurfaced, reinvigorated and full of spunk just in time for another season of gripping grand tours that we will offer slightly more than a passing nod to.

What will happen with this site remains to be seen - it is truly a book of blank pages from here on in - but the fact I've kept paying the subscription to keep it going all this time should offer some hope for its future. 

It's nice to write what I like again, I realise. To be unchained from brand guidelines and tones of voice and other imagination-sapping mind bendery. 

Consider this a new dawn. Hope you enjoy the picture of a sunset.