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MILAN — Longtime cycling enthusiast Sir Paul Smith has created the leaders’ jerseys for the 96th edition of the annual Giro d’Italia race, which kicks off May 4 in Naples, Italy.
“I’ve been a cycling fan since I was 12 — it’s a dream to do this for such an important race,” said Smith during the official unveiling of the jerseys at his Milan showroom earlier this week. “I have a huge collection of jerseys myself from the Seventies right up to current times, often signed by the riders. Cycling has just exploded recently — I thought it would be a cool thing to do.”
Each of the four jerseys comes in a different color — pink, red, blue and white — and corresponds to a competition classification. “I wanted to keep them simple, minimal — and modern — with Andy Warhol colors and my funny drawings on the side,” said Smith pointing to the shirts’ Pop Art-bright color. There is contrasting red piping on the pink shirt, which marks out the leader of the time general classification, the most prestigious one, and the tiny sketches of cyclists on their side panel. The Paul Smith signature logo appears clearly on the collar, while the border of the left sleeve bears the colored Paul Smith stripes. Smith put “slimming” lines down the side seams of the shirt and added breathable mesh panels and a reflector tab on the side.
RCS Sports Cycling, which owns World Tour events such as the Giro d’Italia, tapped Smith for the job. “Last year at the Giro Grand Arrival in Milan, I showed Sir Paul behind the scenes at the Corsa Rosa,” said Marco Gobbi Pansana, RCS Sport marketing manager. “His knowledge and passion for the sport were clear as we walked around, soaking up all the emotions and sensations that an occasion like this evokes. After that day it was clear that the dream of an iconic designer shaping the Maglia Rosa [the famous pink jersey worn by the leader of the time general classification] would soon become a reality.”
The Giro d’Italia has 21 stages and will last 23 days, including two rest days. It will finish in Brescia, a small, affluent city east of Milan.
The Giro d’Italia jersey collaboration is just one of Smith’s many high-profile connections with the sport: He’s designed a range of city cycling clothing and accessories for Rapha, including rain jackets, jerseys, caps and gloves, and is friends with British cycling greats including Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and David Millar. Last spring, Smith presented Cavendish with a trophy for his outstanding contribution to the Giro d’Italia, and took part in the live broadcast of Giro d’Italia on Italy’s Rai 3 channel.