In the year of the 100th Tour de France, Rapha is reaching out to the female market with the launch of the Rapha Women's 100.
The project will see Rapha send 100 women to ride the 100km Etape du Tour sportive on July 7th.
The Rapha website will feature tales from women riding the 100, charting their training and experiences in the build up, featuring seasoned racers to brand new roadies. Rapha is asking men and women to encourage women they know to join the Rapha Women’s 100, spreading the message online and organise rides.
According to the brand: "The Rapha Women’s 100 is not a competition to see who is the fastest, slowest or fittest, it is about gathering a global community of women around the world to take part in this shared adventure."
The news comes hot on the heels of the launch of Rapha's spring summer 2013 training and racing collection. The fresh batch of gear has a strong emphasis on colour and has expanded the brand's hot weather and women’s ranges.
Rapha sells direct to consumer (constituting around 90 per cent of sales) online and through its main bricks and mortar retail outlet Cycle Club in Brewer Street. However there are retail partners, including Evans which sells (only) Sky kit. Beyond that, Condor, Edinburgh's Ronde and Sigma Sport retail the Rapha range.
Highlights from the new women lines include the Wind Jacket in Purple in Red and the Lightweight Jersey in Purple, Cream and Grey with high-vis pink. Rapha is also introducing new colours for the t-shirt, a Short Sleeve Merino Base Layer cut specifically for women and a new Silk Scarf. This season also sees the introduction of two garments in the shape of the Souplesse Jersey and Women's Classic Bib Shorts.
Other highlights include new colours for the club, lightweight and classic jerseys, inspired by cycle heroes Tommy Godwin, Ramon Hoyos and Gastone Nencini, as well as the Classic Sportwool Jersey in colour for the first time (Chili and Blue). Matching arm warmers and Rapha Caps are available too.
Rapha has also introduced a new line-up of Sportwool jerseys to commemorate the 1962 return of Trade Teams to the Tour de France, made from the same Merino blend as the Classic Jersey and with a full-length zip and three colourways.
There's much more detail on the Rapha site.