Paying homage to the origins of our name, Rapha is proud to partner with St Raphaël on a special edition collection that celebrates our collective ties to the world’s greatest sport.

26 June 2023

Cycling sponsors are iconic. Inextricably linked to their respective teams, their names have accompanied some of the sport’s greatest moments – immortalised alongside the riders who bear their logos. And from tile grout to televisions, the jerseys of the pro peloton have seen it all. But in the halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s, it was an unlikely extra-sportif (non-bike industry) sponsor that would inspire more than just victories on cycling’s biggest stage.


The quinine-based apéritif, St Raphaël, was one of cycling’s famous post-war sponsors. Invented in Paris in 1830, this amber-coloured elixir lent its name to a team containing, rather fittingly, one Raphaël Géminiani. Affectionately known as Le Grand Fusil (The Big Gun), Géminiani went on to manage the team, signing riders such as Rudi Altig, Roger Rivière, and Tom Simpson. Of all the talent brought in by Géminiani, however, none seem to capture the spirit of the age quite so well as Anquetil, who joined in 1962, and was fundamental to the team’s success.

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