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Inspired by last.
Few artifacts of cycling culture embody the spirit of suffering quite as well as the Maglia Nera. It was awarded in the form of a black jersey to the Giro's last-place rider from 1946 to 1951, though the ghost of the Maglia Nera remains a symbolic point of pride because it reminds us all of the sheer force of determination it can take just to finish a grand tour. Santini celebrates those who suffer outside of the TV frame with the Maglia Nera Bib Shorts, a pair of bibs that pay homage to cycling's past while taking advantage of cycling's present technology.
Regardless of if they finish in pink or black, every cyclist who makes it to Milan has to get through the Giro's mountains. This is no small feat, as the Giro typically prides itself on having the toughest course of the three grand tours. The Vuelta has been making gains of late in this regard, and the Tour is usually raced faster; but for those long-suffering gregarios in the Dolomite autobus, that's all of little consolation.
The Maglia Nera's body fabric and bib straps will be a consolation, though, as they forgo the current trends of bib short construction in favor of classically Italian solutions to the rigors of climbing high mountains in high heat. The material is a traditional Lycra. Rather than the flat/matte-finish of predominantly nylon shorts, the Maglia Nera exhibits that telltale sheen of classic Italian Lycra, a fitting nod to cycling's heritage in a pair of bibs that celebrate the Giro's centenary edition. The bibs are also traditional; instead of of lie-flat elastic straps, Santini opts for light, barely there mesh. After all, the Giro = mountains, and on long, hot days on double digit grades, "light" and "barely there" definitely appeal more than solid, restrictive elastic.
Though the Maglia Nera competition has long been nothing more than fodder for tifosi conversations, the shorts bearing its name continue to evolve. Case in point: the GITevo chamois represents an upgrade from the previous edition's NAT insert. The new model features a Twist Gel core sandwiched in layers of multi-density of foam and wrapped in the standard anti-odor microfiber. The takeaway is support that compresses and rebounds to reduce chatter, alleviate pressure, and maintain contact with your skin.
- Modern bib shorts that pay homage to cycling's past
- Classic Italian Lycra breathes and stretches for comfort
- Barely there mesh bibs offer relief on long, hot climbs
- Lie-flat leg bands reduce transitional ridges
- Updated chamois targets comfort without undue bulk
- The Maglia Nera is a tribute for all of those who have ever suffered to hang on at the back