Now in its third year, the 2017 edition of the Rouleur Classic put The Monuments as its central theme. This has quickly become THE cycling show to attend with its celebration of road racing, some of the best brands in the business showing off their latest and greatest products, some stunning cycling art and exhibits and an astonishing line up of speakers.
All this against the elegant backdrop of Bloomsbury Ballrooms in Central London. With sumptious food and an efficient bar where you can mix with some of cycling’s glitterati, this is an un-missable event for cycling nuts.
The most striking exhibit this year was the ‘Flanders Finest’ section with its collection of jerseys, flags and bikes from that brutal heartland of cycling. The set of Roubaix cobbles had everyone attempting moody Instagram shots.
Down the corridor a magnificent display of famous cycling jerseys by Castelli featured Fausto Coppi’s very own 1950 jersey. The Bianchi and Brooklyn designs are the inspiration behind Ride Velo's very own collection of T-shirts.
Artist Simon Fellows has been making a name for himself with his beautifully hand-painted bike shoes. He was on hand monogramming caps and bags as well as showing off some of his bespoke designs.
Of course, what people really want to see here are bikes and some of the top brands were on hand. Every time I see a Colnago C60 my heart skips a beat. As well as showing off their latest high end models their retro Arabesque was on display here, reminding us of their great heritage and history.
Look bikes have always pushed the boundaries with their engineering eye for detail and aesthetic beauty. But it was a newer kid on the block that had the suited and booted clientele salivating: Windy Milla are an independent bike maker based in the Surrey Hills and their sub 900g Massive Attack stood out for its beauty and high technical standards.
Aqua Blue unveiled their new bike for the 2018 season – a 3T Strada with only a single chainring at the front, the first major professional team to do so. The SRAM Force 1 groupset features a wide range cassette at the back that negates the need for a second front chain ring. It also looks fantastic in the Aqua Blue livery.
Maserati put on an exhibition of Time Trial bikes and suits at the back of the theatre that you could ogle in between talks hosted by ITV4’s Ned Boulting.
The Rouleur Classic always draws the highest level of speakers and this year didn’t disappoint. On the Friday that we attended the hall was packed to the rafters to see and hear Alberto Contador in the flesh. Sharing the stage with fellow Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha, he reflected on his career and relived his final Grand Tour victory on the Angliru.
Pippa York, formerly Robert Miller spoke movingly about her personal diffculties in overcoming her gender issues as well as reminiscing about her racing career. And it was a fellow Millar, ITV pundit, ex-racer and Scot who rounded off the evening with a preview of the film Time Trial. Documenting David Millar’s final year in the peloton, we can’t wait to see the whole thing.
Spread out in a warren of corridors and rooms there’s always something striking and exciting round each turn at the Rouleur Classic – its spaces lend themselves to being dressed like movie sets. There’s also an exclusive feel that comes with the hefty entrance fee that allows you to rub shoulders with cycling greats at the bar. We can’t wait for next year to come round again!
Watch out for detailed accounts of talks by Alberto Contador, Pippa York, David Millar and Aqua Blue boss, Rick Delaney coming soon on Ride Velo.