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With May comes the first grand tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia. We’ll see Movistar’s Nairo Quintana begin his quest for the Giro-Tour double, a feat that has not been achieved since Marco Pantani’s 1998 victories. Team Sky sends Landa and Thomas to challenge, while BMC’s van Garderen will see if Italy in May agrees with him more than France in July. Here at the Peloton Service Course, we’ve got Giro fever so we’re going to bring you Italian products, or products inspired by Italy, all month. Up first it’s a tire from Vittoria, pink kit from Bontrager, Scicon’s latest bike case, Sportful’s kit for hardmen and Giordana’s long miles Lungo kit.
GO LONG, GO COMFORTABLY. More often than not, crossing a finish line first is not the goal. It’s all right if your ride involves a long coffee stop or maybe even lunch at the local gastro pub. Maybe you plan to enjoy the rest stops and scenery on your next gran fondo. If so, leave the race stuff at home, and kit up with Giordana’s new Lungo line. The jerseys feature great moisture management and the fit is as comfortable with a beer in hand as a bidon, but the stand-out feature is six back pockets for all the gear you need on a long day. The bibs use a complementary fit, only one seam per leg, compression and Giordana’s latest chamois technology, the Cirro S, with a Copa Mondiale—a cut specific to the male anatomy, if you know what we mean. Lungo features kits designed just for women too. $160 (jersey), $250 (bibs); giordanacycling.com
A TRAVEL CASE FOR THE ANTI-MECHANIC. Traveling with your bike is both the greatest joy a rider can have and also one of the biggest headaches. Will it get there safely? Will it be too heavy to fly? How much hassle will it be to pack and then lug to the airport? The Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA case eliminates every one of those concerns. The soft canvas case features a light metal frame to keep your bike as stable and secure as a hard case, yet won’t hurt you on the scale, and it flies with the bars, pedals and saddle in place. No bag gets your bike there more safely and gets you up and running more quickly, with less wrenching. $650; sciconbags.com
A NEW BENCHMARK? For us, the Vittoria Corsa CX represented the pinnacle of a pure performance clincher. To hear it was fundamentally redesigned was a bit scary. Would this new tire, the Corsa G, perform as well? The heart of the tire is a new Graphene compound called G Isotech. Vittoria uses four different Graphene compounds in the tires—some for grip, some to lower rolling resistance and some for durability and puncture protection. But here’s the best part: it actually lowers the tires rolling resistance to below the whisper-thin resistance of the previous Corsa CX. This new tire is measurably faster. You pay 20 grams per tire for that speed, but it’s a worthy trade-off. $84; 240g; vittoria.com
ITALIAN FOR FLANDERS. Over the years, the Belgian racers have won the Tour of Flanders most frequently, but the Italians are the best of the rest with 10 wins. So when Sportful designed a range of clothing to tackle changing weather they looked to Fiandre, or Flanders, for inspiration. The latest addition to this line is the Light Wind Jersey. It’s designed to provide warmth without bulk or hindering movement on the bike. Light-and-breathable Windstopper 4Way Light fabric makes sure the wind can’t whisk away your body’s warmth; and thanks to Sportful’s NoRain treatment, unless the heavens truly open up, you’ll stay dry too. The fit is super slim, so it won’t flap in the wind, but keep in mind, if you are usually a medium, you’ll want to go for a large. Wear it with just a base layer for incredible warmth in a minimalist package. $170; sportful.it
TRADITIONAL LOOKS MEET MODERN PERFORMANCE. The month of May has us dreaming of pink jerseys, and judging by the latest update to its fantastic Classique line, Bontrager feels the same way. The new Classique jersey comes in white, powder blue or, our favorite, pink. The aesthetic is retro and the fit is the comfortable side of "race." The fabric is traditional merino wool, with a twist. Special particles ramp up the material’s ability to wick sweat from your body. The Classique bibs from Bontrager are the perfect companion, with the same traditional style and modern performance. $175 (jersey), $199 (bibs); trekbikes.com