Back in 1993, to say the coverage of cycling in the UK was minimal is somewhat of an understatement.
Coverage of the Tour de France had evolved from Channel's 4's 30 minute highlights package onto some live coverage in Eurosport for those of us lucky enough to have it. Eurosport also covered the five monuments but unfortunately the rest of the season was a little hit and miss.
With "Bill’s Cycling Racing Results and News" (how cyclingnews.com started) still two years away, books were another valuable source of information and "The Foreign Legion" hardback book in particular was extremely popular in our house.
Given as a Christmas present from Roger Slade to my brother and I (Roger is the guy who was indirectly responsible for Mick and Andy meeting and ultimately working together at Prendas) we would both devour the contents of the book over and over again!
The book by the Australian Sports journalist and author Rupert Guinness who is still reporting on cycling, focused on seven cyclists who had left their country of birth and moved to France through the Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt amateur feeder club - more commonly known as l'ACBB - which moved their best graduates into the Peugeot professional team.
The ACBB unwittingly encouraged a change in Europe's attitude providing British, Irish and Australian riders a developmental pathway into the professional peloton. The book focused on Paul Sherwen, Graham Jones, Phil Anderson, Robert Millar, Stephen Roche, Sean Yates and Allan Peiper but the eventual list of graduates was much longer.
Our new Foreign Legion t-shirt is influenced by the ACBB amateur jersey of the 1980's and although definitely not a copy of the original design, we'd like to think that we've created a standout t-shirt that people will enjoy wearing.
Like the professional Peugeot team jersey, the orange and grey ACBB jersey featured the Peugeot logos across the chest with Michelin underneath. The sleeves featured the black and white checkerboard with Esso at the top of the sleeve with a Le Coq Sportif logo (the garment's manufacturer) also present.
Both new garments are made in a factory that we discovered in 2012, who made our first "off the bike" product - the Molteni retro leisure sweater in 2013 - which is still very much part of our collection today.
Our first t-shirt from the factory was the simple, yet classic retro-inspired Cima Coppi T-shirt that mirrored the design of our popular (at the time) Cima Coppi jersey.
We easily could have "cheaped out" and gone down the bog-standard screen printed t-shirt route but instead we opted for embroidered lettering, a stripe knit collar and contrast half-moon facing back neck.
A variety of polo shirts including the Molteni followed after-which we then opted for our now standard set-in panel t-shirt style - which provide to be commerically more successful. The first product that featured a sublimated panel was the La Vie Claire with the DROPS, Mapei and INRNG following after with great success.
The Portuguese factory provide a top-quality garment and great communication all for a reasonable price so we couldn't be happier continuing to work with them.