Rapha have thrown their weight behind the popular Etape Du Tour, which will split into two events for 2011, and the newly announced Paris-Roubaix Challenge sportive.
The British premium cycle clothing company have signed a two-year 'strategic partnership' deal with events company ASO that will see them producing special jerseys, as well as providing communications and marketing advice.
In a press release issued today, Rapha said the aim was to put on the best events yet, and also to engage the new breed of amateur sportive riders with ASO's portfolio of road races, which includes the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Unfortunately, their involvement won't make it any easier for British riders to enter the Etape, as this will still have to be done through ASO's affiliated partners. However, ASO are believed to be updating their online booking system for 2011, which should make things easier.
Rapha CEO Simon Mottram said: "I've been riding the Etape du Tour since 2002, before Rapha was launched. Like many Rapha customers, the Etape remains the pinnacle of our riding season and of the sportive year. To be working with ASO on these events is an amazing privilege."
Yann Le Moenner, managing director at ASO, said: "We've long admired the way Rapha connects with road cyclists and we're looking forward to a great partnership that I’m sure will inspire thousands of riders."
The first Paris-Roubaix Challenge will be held on 9 April 2011, the day before the classic race. It'll take place on a 135km route from Saint Quentin to Roubaix, including 30km of pavé. Entries will be limited to 4,000. For more on the Etapes du Tour, see our article on the 2011 launch.