Sir Paul Smith has this evening unveiled the maglia rosa that he has designed for this year's Giro d'Italia and that riders including Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins will have their eyes on winning in May when the race ends in the Lombardy city of Brescia. The jersey, still made by Italian firm Santini, was unveiled at an event at the Paul Smith showroom in Milan hosted in partnership with race organisers RCS Sport. The maglia rosa also has a new sponsor this year in the shape of confectionery firm Balocco.
From another picture in a gallery on the Gazzetta dello Sport website, it can be seen that the left sleeve bears signature Paul Smith stripes on the cuff, as do the red, blue and white jerseys that he has designed for, respectively, the points, mountains and young rider's classifications.
Sir Paul is also known for hidden detailing in his designs - remember the kerfuffle a few year's back when one of his shirts former Prime Minister Tony Blair wore was revealed to have a World War II bomber decoration-style pin-up picture hiding behind the cuff?
Well, there's hidden detailing in this year's maglia rosa, too, in the shape of a dedication inside the collar to Fiorenzo Magni, the 'third man' of the years of the Coppi-Bartali rivalry who himself won the Giro in 1948, 1951 and 1955 and who died last month at the age of 91.
The designer said that his design aimed to simplify the jersey - last year's version, with two shades of pink employed and white panels at the shoulder wasn't to everyone's taste - and that he'd sought to put something of the cyclist within himself into the jerseys.
As some have pointed out in the comments to the initial version of this story, a pink jersey is a pink jersey, so where's the design element?
Well, as the Gazzetta dello Sport's blog for its Giro per Ghisallo initiative shows, the maglia rosa has seen subtle and not so subtle reinterpretations over the years - sometimes just the shade of pink employed, sometimes detailing such as the collar, and some more radical departures from the traditional design (gallery here).
The Gazzetta's initiative aims to collect as many versions of the maglia rosa - ones worn by riders, not replicas - for the cycling museum that Magni himself was instrumental in setting up at the top of the Madonna del Ghisallo climb which features on the Giro di Lombardia route.
So far, more than 50 versions of the maglia rosa have been collected and are on display there. After this year's race, the one designed by Sir Paul Smith, with its singular features such as those stripes and the hidden tribute to the museum's former president, will join them and find its own place in Italian cycling history.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.