With 100 days to go until the 100th Tour de France starts, Le Coq Sportif, the race’s jersey sponsors, have launched a sweeping collection of cycle clothing that includes a technical line, a casual range and some limited edition kit to be stocked only at Harrods in the UK.
Earlier this month, the French company released the design for the 2013 yellow jersey. Details celebrate the race’s first visit to Corsica, race founder Henri Desgranges, and this year’s final stage, which takes place at night. A number of the motifs have been carried through to the rest of the 2013 collection.
With 100 years of the Tour to celebrate, Le Coq Sportif’s Centieme line is the centrepiece. Four pieces – the maillot jaune (£125) and three blackout garments, including a gilet (£155) and wind jacket (£190) – have been produced in tiny numbers.
The Centieme line is unashamedly technical in construction: manmade fibres abound and the design pays homage to a century of Tours with details such as a watermarked ‘100’ made of a montage of famous race venues and climbs.
Blacked-out details on the maillot noir
Anyone after something from the Centieme range should diarise the on-sale date of 1 June 2013 and head to Harrods in London – they’ll be the only UK stockists, with 100 items of each piece. Those planning on getting the kit signed by a Tour rider will need to take a Tipp-Ex pen for the noir clothing.
It includes a combination of features such as silicone grippers, flat seams and breathable fabrics, with subtle design motifs like the French tricolor and, of course, Le Coq’s famous cockerel logo, often picked out in 3M reflective flashes.
The ARAC short sleeve jersey (£85) certainly looks the part, as it shares its cut and materials with the yellow jersey to be worn by the Tour leader this July. It’s even got the faux collar – a homage to the first jersey Le Coq Sportif provided for the Tour.
The Volp bib shorts are unashamedly technical
The moulded pad in the Volp bib shorts, which puts more material under pressure points, is made of a material called Spacerknit designed to transfer and expel sweat. The pad is flat-stitched into the polyamide/elastine mix. Without testing it’s impossible to know how they will perform, but at £85 they appear to be good value for money.
Marc Chamberlain, trend account manager for Le Coq Sportif in the UK, told BikeRadar that a definite category for fashion-conscious cyclists is emerging, and believes his company’s history as both a fashion and sports brand should mark them out as key players.
Apart from a couple of big items – the Teflon-impregnated chinos (£115) and jackets (£149-£169) – the garments are 100 percent cotton or merino wool, so all-natural breathability should be ensured. Colour schemes are fairly bold, with lots of greens and blues, and there’s a definite nod to the slightly muted colours of cycling’s past.
A trouser clip is stowed handily at the waist of these flashy chinos
The range of cycling clothing being produced by Le Coq Sportif this year is about a third bigger than in 2012, said Chamberlain. And if you liked the wide selection of cycling-oriented T-shirts and polo shirts, and the retro L’Eroica merino wool jerseys (the company sponsors the famous Tuscan gran fondo), they’ve been updated but are still present and correct for 2013.