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Rapha CEO: New foundation will drag cycling forward but won't sell jerseys

Published May 29, 2019

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Rapha on Wednesday announced a $1.5 million foundation that will support cycling development programs. Simon Mottram, the founder and CEO of the British brand, said neither the foundation or the company's recently published Rapha Roadmap are intended to drive sales of Rapha product.

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"I'm not sure it's going to make someone a Rapha customer," Mottram told VeloNews in an interview posted Wednesday. "It's a massive pain in the ass that we bring on ourselves for other reasons. In the long term, it may make the professional sport better, and therefore the whole sport better, and we all benefit. We need to just go beyond the horizon and try and drag the sport forward."

VeloNews published the Rapha Roadmap a 10-part research project on the state of professional cycling. The Road Map, in part, came out of Rapha's experience sponsoring Team Sky.

"We got shots of Rapha jerseys on riders posing with their arms in the air. It was great, but it wasn’t moving the dial, and it seemed to be taking us further away from what enthusiast cyclists were doing," Mottram said of the Sky sponsorship.

He contrasted that with the brand's sponsorship of U.S.-based Team EF Education First. That agreement was reached after Mottram considered the topics raised in the Road Map.

"I think about ... the conversation I had with [EF Education CEO] Edward Hult. He wanted us to come in as a clothing supplier. I said we're not going to do that. We want to have control of media, and look at the calendar and turn your riders into characters, and he was up for that. It's changed our approach to sponsorships, and we're looking at what we do in future years."

Full interview on VeloNews.com.

Topics associated with this article: Racing & Sponsorship

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