Having already taken inspiration from team jerseys of the 1960s and 70s, Rapha’s Trade Team range moves into the 1980s.
The decade was a period of transition in the pro peloton, with riders moving from steel bikes and toe-straps to carbon frames and clipless pedals, while sartorially, wool made way for polyester and the sublimated printing that enabled the vibrant, sponsor-laden designs seen on the shoulders of pros at the time.
Reflecting the changes to the rapid globalisation of professional cycling during the 1980s, Rapha has ditched merino wool for the first time in its team-inspired range to match the bright colours worn by pros and seen by millions on blurry-edged video broadcasting around the world.
Using the brand’s Pro Team jerseys as a base, the three Trade Team offerings have been designed to resemble the Renault, La Vie Claire and ANC teams of the period, each with plenty of knowing touches for fans of the originals.
The distinctive bright yellow, white and black-striped livery of the Renault team was at the head of the peloton for years. The team dominated the Tour de France and by the squad’s demise in 1985, Renault had secured six Tour victories – four thanks to Bernard Hinault and two courtesy of Laurent Fignon.
Rapha’s Renault-inspired jersey has similar diagonal lines to the original and features a central block of bright yellow along with a car-style head badge on the chest and ‘La France Profonde’ around the sleeve, highlighting the team’s deeply French nature.
Made famous by three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond, the La Vie Claire jersey was designed by Benetton and based on the modernist lines of the Bauhaus. Rapha’s interpretation is a little more refined, maintaining the geometric shapes and strong block of red along with gradients of grey. The chest features an Oakley-style sunglasses graphic, invoking the image of the Tour’s first American champion.
Bringing the designs closer to Rapha’s home, the blue design ignites memories of the first British trade team to grace the Tour de France since the early ’60s - ANC. Funded by UK haulage mogul Tony Capper, the team gained wildcard entry to the 1987 tour, 20 years after the death of Tom Simpson. It wasn’t only the team’s riders who dropped like flies during the race, Capper himself had washed his hands of the team before its remaining members reached Paris.
Rapha’s design highlights the wildcard entry, the less than stellar performance and Capper’s gamble with the squad through a littering of joker and playing card symbols across the blue jersey.
The jerseys cost £120 / US$180 / AU$190 and there are also matching caps available for £25 / US$40 / AU$45.
Find out more about the collection at the Rapha website.