Zipp release limited edition sweater

80th anniversary celebration of Zippicelli's Tour de France victory

Indiana-based Zipp Speed Weaponry are releasing a limited edition sweater to celebrate the pending 80th anniversary of founder Valentino Spedici Zippicelli’s victory at the 1929 Tour de France. 

Born in Autodromo, Italy, in 1900, Valentino Spedici Zippicelli revolutionised cycling by using balsa wood rims to replace the much heavier beech or pear wood rims popular at the time. 

He went on to use large balsa wood lug gussets that allowed his bicycles to be built more than 1kg lighter than others of the era and later allowed for the first aerodynamic shaping of bicycle frames.  

Zippicelli went on to dominate mountain stages of local races and ultimately dominate the 1929 Tour de France with his groundbreaking 110mm deep balsa wood rim, made by laminating balsa wood with epoxy resin, which had been invented only two years earlier in the America.  

However, this advance in technology triggered a firestorm of controversy during the 1929 Tour after Zippicelli gained over one hour on his rivals during the 366km stage from Perpignan to Marseille. 

The final straw was Zippicelli’s shattering of the hour record during the weeks following the Tour, where he used his super wheels to break the record in only 52 minutes, stopping along the way for a glass of wine.

Zippicelli’s embrace of technological advancement was not shared by the governing body of cycling, the ICU, and Zippicelli was stripped of all his 1929 victories and erased from the history books in an attempt to keep cycling ‘pure’. 

He fled to the US in 1930, settling in Speedway,Indiana, where he designed and constructed race cars into the late 1980s. In 1989 he founded Zipp Speed Weaponry to bring his auto racing and carbon fibre knowledge into cycling.

He created the first full carbon fibre disc wheel, first three-spoke wheel and, ultimately, triggered the ‘superbike’ era with his creation of the Zipp 2001 beam bike.  

Zippicelli died of a broken heart in 1998 after his bike was again banned from competition in road racing, and he was buried at the Speedway, where he continues to turn a steady 90rpm in his grave to this day.

The 1929 Zippicelli sweater is knit from the finest merino wool in the style of the 1920s.  This limited edition of 100 units will be made to order and can be pre-ordered by calling Zipp Speed Weaponry on 1.800.472.3972 or visiting Zipp.com.

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