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Rapha releases Milano-Roma range to remember 'Herculean' race

1 Nov 2018

Raced only twice, Milano-Roma travelled 666km in just two days

For all the criticism Rapha has faced in recent time, whether it be its sale to those with connections to Walmart or the closure of its holiday and print business, one thing that it has consistently done well is celebrate cycling's past with elegant collections of limited edition kit.

The latest race to receive this treatment is Milano-Roma, a race you may never have heard of.

The reason for this is because it only took place twice, firstly in 1906 and lastly in 1918. Spread apart by the devastating First World War, the race took place over two long, 'Herculian' days covering 666km of parcour from Milan to Bologna and then from Bologna finishing in the city of seven hills, Rome. 

See the Milano-Roma collection at Rapha

A hellish distance in number and task, the race was open to professionals and amateurs alike although only one man ever had the honour of becoming campione di Milano-Roma, Carlo Galetti. 

Nicknamed Il Scoiattolo dei Navigli (the squirrel of the canals) after Milan's tangling canal system, Galetti not only scurried his way to the top step of this forgotten race, a local to the race having been born just outside of Milan, but also to three consecutive Giro d'Italia titles from 1910 to 1912.  

He then, at the age of 48, finished 61st in the 1931 Milan-San Remo, further proof that he thrived on the long days of suffering.

As for the actual collection, Rapha has connected with high art on its designs using the futurism and cubism movements to dictate look while using the terracotta red and autumnal browns of Milan and Roma to influence colour scheme with items for use on and off the bike.

Off the bike, Rapha has three pieces from a casual embroidered t-shirt emblazoned with 'Milano-Roma' across the chest that comes in two colours and retails at an expectedly expensive price of £60, to a Steve McQueen-inspired maroon merino roll neck with a diamond detailing, front pocket, again in two colours and again expensive at £180.

Finally is a merino wool track jacket, designed for before and after rides like those worn by professionals of the past.

With a front zip and pocket, it has the small but impressive touch of 'Milano-Roma- embroidered onto the rear of the jacket. Again in two colours, it retails for £215.

For days on the bike, Rapha has opted for a special edition Classic jersey in either navy and pink or burgundy, gold and brown.

Limited to just 300 pieces, it's made of 'wünder' material merino, stays in keeping with the classic look of the 20th century and also comes with a set of fetching ribbed armed warmers. It will cost £160 for the set.

To add the finer details to the range are a small set of accessories again limited to small numbers. Firstly is a rather dandy silk scarf, again taking influence from futurism celebrating the 'forgotten parcours and protagonists' of the race from 100 years ago.

See the Milano-Roma collection at Rapha

There will also be a small essentials case and finally but arguably most importantly a classics casquette in a two-tone palette that matches both the jerseys and off-bike pieces. 

The full collection can be found here and is on-sale to the general public now.


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