The Spoke September 30, 2010

10 things you might not know about 'Mapei'

To add to my burgeoning collection of cycling jersey's I have recently added a very colourful 'Mapei' top (as worn by me during the etape hibernia. It's the 2002 season amateur version). It's 'retro' and I really like the technicolour design, but until recently didn't know too much about the heritage of the team. To help, here's bikebritain's '10 things to know about 'Mapei'', so you, like me, can be more informed about this seminal team from the 1990s.

1. Mapei was an Italian based road racing team, active between 1993 to 2002. It originated from the Eldor-Viner team.

2. Mapei is an multi-national, Italian-based industrial company. 

3. In 1994 it merged with the Spanish Clas-Cajastur team, resulting in domination of the UCI road racing for seasons to come.

4. During 1994, a number of top riders joined from Clas-Cajastur, including Fernando Escartín, Abraham Olano and, most prominently, top Swiss rider Tony Rominger. 

5. Tomy Rominger was the only Mapei rider to win any of the Grand Tours (Giro, Le Tour and Vuelta). Rominger won both the 1994 Vuelta a Espana and 1995 Giro D'Italia. Outside of his victories however, Mapei never featured in the mix for other Grand Tour titles.

6. This withstanding, Mapei (along with it's various co-sponsors) was ranked as the strongest UCI team in 1994 through 2000 and 2002. During those 7 seasons (94-00) the team won 513 ranking events. Its strength was in one day classic events. 

7. Under the Sports Director Patrick Lefevre, Mapei won the Paris-Roubaix 5 times - and in three instances (1996, 1998 and 1999) took all three poduim finishes.

8. Colnago was well-known as the sponsor of the Mapei Professional Cycling Team throughout the 1990s.

9. In 2000, having been part of the Mapei team for 5 years Johan Museeuw  (Belgium, 1995–2000) decided to split and join a new team Domo-farm Frites as team captain, thus providing great rivalry between the two teams. (Museeuw orignally joined Mapei from the Clas-Razesa team at the same time as Frank Vandenbrouke who came from Lotto).  

10. In 2003 the team disbanded, rocked by doping allegations involving Stefano Garzelli who had tested positive for the banned substance Probenecid (a masking agent).  Mapei dropped it's sponsorship, mutating into yet another new a new team - Quick Step-Davitamo.

There you have it; a brief history of Mapei, a team pre-eminent in the 1990s and one that still has some relevance today albeit in the guise of 'Quick-Step'......and no sooner had I written this, I read that Mapei were making a return to top level professional cycling, sponsoring the UCI 2010 World Championship. So perhaps we will see more of their famous team colours once again...

For details on Mapei team clothing and other retro apparel see www.prendasciclismo.co.uk. 

Thumbnail Photo Credit - bikebritain Ltd

Slider Photo Credit - www.procyclingphotos.com

Sources www.cyclingweekly.co.uk and www.mapeicycling.com
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