The Spring Classics have reached their conclusion, and that can mean only one thing: Grand Tour season is near. The Classics are undoubtedly stern tests of riders' cunning and strength, but nothing compares to the three-week battles that take place in Italy, France, and Spain.
In preparation for the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, here are our top bits of Pink and Yellow grand tour fan gear from across the web.
Santini Giro 2015 jerseys
Italian cycling brand Santini has again signed on to provide the official leaders jerseys for the 98th Giro d’Italia. This year's Pink, Blue, Red and White jerseys for the various leaders' classifications were designed in collaboration with men’s fashion brand Lebole.
While replicas of these tops are available, Santini has also released what it's calling the Capsule Collection, which includes bibshorts, accessories and three commemorative jerseys highlighting iconic stages of the race.
Santini has dedicated the Capsule Collection to the Maglia Nera, a symbolic prize awarded between 1946 and 1951 to the last placed rider. There was genuine competition for the Maglia Nera, and riders would go as far as hiding in bars, behind hedges, and puncturing their own tyres to take the ‘win’.
From £75 / US$130 / AU$N/A
The Giro d'Italia: Coppi vs Bartali at the 1949 Tour of Italy
The rivalry between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali is perhaps one of the greatest in history, and their battle in the 1949 Giro was... well, we're still talking about it today, aren't we?
The Giro d'Italia: Coppi vs Bartali at the 1949 Tour of Italy by Dino Buzzati is formed from a series of translated newspaper clippings from each stage. The 1949 edition of the Giro was the first race following World War II – it was also the first professional bike race Buzzati had witnessed, which likely explains his unorthodox reporting style. While describing the vivid backdrop of the race from Sicily to Milan, Buzzati uses Hector and Achilles, characters from Homer's Iliad, and military metaphors to describe the rivalry between Coppi and Bartali.
£20 / US$24 / AU$54
Rapha Cima Coppi collection
The Cima Coppi – a prize first introduced in 1965 – is awarded to the first rider over the highest point in the Giro. It was inspired by Coppi’s ascent of the Passo dello Stelvio in 1953.
Rapha has released a special edition Sportwool jersey, classic cap and essentials case to celebrate the Cima Coppi. The collection also includes a silk scarf for Campionissimo-style flair.
£110 / US$160 / AU$175
Jiro Belt Giro special edition
A fine Italian leather belt is among the fanciest clothing accessories you can buy. However the eye-popping price tag causes many to carefully place such belts back on the rack before running off with haste.
Now Jiro Belt is giving you a much more affordable option for a handmade Italian belt – it just happens to be made from a bike tyre. Commemorating the Giro, Jiro has made a limited edition pant-securing apparatus out of pink Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres.
£18 / US$27 (approx) / AU$34 (approx)
ProCycling Giro Guide
The ProCycling Giro guide, which is available now, takes a look back at the most dramatic stages in previous Giros, hearing from Giuseppe Guerini on the day he outlasted Marco Pantani and taking a look back at the heritage of 130-year-old Italian marque Bianchi, while also profiling this year's main protagonists.
The guide features routes, rider profiles and stage analysis, as well as photography from Giros gone by – and includes a free 66-page book, Giro Tales, to help bring that rich history to life.
£6 / US$14 (Approx) / AU$18 (Approx)
Tour de France
Après Vélo shirts
Based in urban Sydney, casual cycling clothing brand Après Vélo has released a range of Tour de France inspired shirts. The new shirts are part of the ‘Company Seal Hill Tees’ collection, which reflects the love-hate relationship that most of us have with climbs. Celebrating the Tour de France are 'AD Huez & Co' and 'Tourmalet & Sons' designs. There is also a 'Stelvio Groupe' shirt for the Giro.
£25 / US$35 / AU$50
Coffee and Cols cups
For those of us who not in Europe or watching the Tour from the sidelines, the time difference can be a killer. Whether you're tuning in early morning or very late at night, coffee is a blessing. So why not enjoy your cup of joe out of a Maillot Jaune, Maillot Vert or Maillot à Pois Rouges mug? Available from Coffee and Cols.
Set of four: £38 / US$59 / AU$76
Small cycling figurines are cool, there are no ifs or buts about it. They make for great gifts, and are tremendously useful when trying to explain last night's stage to your colleagues who missed it.
There are plenty of these figurines out there, but those from Cycling Souvenirs are sourced from a French family-run business that has been casting them since the 1950s. Each figurine is hand painted and comes in a small box that reads ‘little cyclist’.
£12 / US18$ (Approx) / AU$23 (Approx)
Mash SF 'I haven’t watched today's stage yet' shirt
As mentioned above, outside of Europe cycling broadcasts can be on at pretty inconvenient times – especially if you're in Australia where stages don’t wrap up until about 2:30am. And if you’re anything like the BikeRadar Australia staff, you don’t always have time to watch your recording of last night's stage between your morning ride and heading to work.
So when ‘Roger from accounting’ rushes up to you tell you how great so-and-so rode last night, and how that-other-guy crashed out of the yellow jersey, you may well give in to the impulse of pouring your hot coffee over the top of his head.
Mash SF came up with a solution to this unfortunate scenario. Armed with the firm's 'I haven’t watched today's stage yet' shirt, when trusty ol’ Roger makes a beeline for you, he can avoid his coffee shower – and you can enjoy the stage when you arrive home from work.
Sadly the shirts are no longer available just now, but we're hoping that Mash SF brings this shirt back for another year. Please! Save Roger, Mash SF.
Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France
With so much emphasis put on the yellow jersey, many forget the achievement that is just finishing the Tour de France. Completing 3000km over 21 days against cols, cobbles, and crashes is in itself an amazing feat. And it’s not just the front of the race where controversy takes place.
The Lanterne Rouge – much like the Maglia Nera in the Giro – is the title awarded to the last placed rider in the Tour, and its history is a story less often told. Max Leonard’s book, also entitled Lanterne Rouge, tells those stories that the cameras were not around to capture.
This book is an entertaining account taking in everyone from stage winners and former yellow jerseys who couldn’t hang on, to a breakaway leader who stopped for a bottle of wine and then took a wrong turn, to a doper whose drug cocktail backfired.
£17 / US$21 / AU$25
Oakley TDF sunnies
Each year Oakley commemorates the Tour de France with special editions of their most popular sporting sunnies. This year, that includes the RadarLock, and polarizing (and optional polarized) Jawbreaker. The new TdF inspired sunnies feature a French flag over the top of the frame, and Oakley’s new Prizm road lens.
While it seems Oakley may have been planning to soft-launch these sunnies, information is limited and we can only assume there will be more frames to come.
RadarLock: £175 / US$260 / AU$329
Jawbreaker: £TBC / US$240 / AU$310