Milltag x Exceller 2020
We love working with Exceller, Brugge’s trend setting bicycle boutique. We’ve teamed up again to present a design that we think honours their location in the heartland of Belgian and Flemish cycling as well as their reputation as producers of luxury, elegant bicycles.
We aren’t breaking any news by telling you that cycling in Belgium is something of a religion. Indeed, they even converted a church into an exhibition/shrine displaying famous artefacts (or saintly possessions) from classics of the past, ridden by the nation's many legendary riders. We like to think our Flanders collection also pays homage to the rich history of both Belgian and Flemish cycling with designs for 2020 inspired by the colours of the national team.
In the 1930s, Tour de France director Henri Desgrange wanted to shift away from the individual battles of the early tours. The first three decades of the race saw riders compete alone with no support in marathon feats of endurance. It was adversarial from the outset as the strongest riders chipped off in groups of one or two up the gravel tracks of the Alps and Pyrenees.
His idea was simple: national teams. From the 1930s riders competed in small national squads similar to the World Championships. The federations of world cycling had to come up with colours to fit their teams out in and the Belgians opted not for the iconic blue that they currently wear but black with their famous tricolour across the chest.
The team competed in these colours between 1930 and 1939 when WWII interrupted things and put the tour on hiatus until 1947. The story goes that Raymond Impanis, a strong rider of the day who would go on to win a stage of that year's tour, was sick and tired of riding in the intense French summer heat in black. A redesign was due.
Raymond thankfully got his way, an early example of rider power? No. The blue most likely came from bicycle manufacturer Alcyon who provided equipment for two of Belgium’s star riders. As far as sponsors getting their way goes, we don’t mind this one.
And so it was that arguably the most iconic national jersey in cycling was born. Raymond was probably still baking in blue thanks to jerseys being made from wool but he certainly brightened up affairs and did his part in the history of Belgian racing.
The 2020 Flanders collection features a jersey in both black and blue, tracing the lineage of the national team’s colours. Also featured is The Lion of Flanders, sitting proudly on the heart in its traditional coat of arms.
Finally, the gothic “Vlaanderen” text across the chest conjures vivid memories of the spring classics, crisp spring afternoons, rabid fans and of course some of the region’s famous produce that keeps those fans in good spirits.
Check out the collection now in our online shop.