When it comes to leading the way in technological advancements in racing apparel Castelli lead the way. Following on from the success of the Sanremo Speedsuit that Johan Vansummeren rode to victory in to win Paris-Roubaix it is evident that the Castelli speedsuit does indeed provide “an unfair advantage”!
Taking this concept even further Castelli have adapted and revised the design to meet the demands of cyclo-cross racing to create the Cross Sanremo Speedsuit!
One of my main gripes during my previous cross season was the discomfort of the bib straps on my regular bib shorts digging into my shoulders when I had to get off and shoulder the bike over the many obstacles throughout the many courses I competed on. Add to that the chill factor around my torso from my jersey riding up my waist each time I had to lift my bike and it becomes clear that regular shorts and jerseys are not designed for this type of activity!
This is where the Cross Sanremo Speedsuit really comes into it’s own. The jersey top is sewn onto the shorts to create a one-piece garment that offers truly astounding performance.
The use of thermoflex fleece fabric for the jersey ensures windchill is kept at bay and exhibits fantastic thermal properties. ¾ length sleeves keep the arms and elbows warm and add some protection when shouldering a muddy bike.
One of the best design features is the clever use of Nervato fabric inserts under the arms; these offer unrestricted movement allowing your arms to be raised when lifting the bike and eliminate the discomfort of both jersey and shorts being pulled up when your arms are raised. The 3D structure of the Nervato inserts also exhibit great thermal regulation properties by permitting additional airflow in areas that are not prone to direct windchill thus reducing the potential for overheating.
There are no external pockets on jersey as these are surplus to requirements in cross racing as feeding and drinking are not permitted during any event. I was quite pleased to find two small inner pockets sewn into the sides at the waist which are just perfect for safely stowing your car key.
For the shorts Castelli have used a one-piece construction from action 290 fabric with highly effective Giro3 leg grippers which when combined offer unrestricted movement whilst keeping the legs in place in any situation. The high stretch properties of the action 290 fabric lends itself to the wider range of movement required for cross racing adding to the overall comfort when running up steep embankments and jumping over obstacles.
One of my favourite attributes of any Castelli short is the pad and the Kiss3 is perfect for this application. Taking the variables into mind when designing the Cross Sanremo Speedsuit Castelli have considered every last detail right down to pad position; for road racing where the rider will have a more aggressive forward and lower position on the bike it makes sense to have the pad sewn in towards the front of the shorts to add padding where needed in such an aggressive position.
For cross racing most riders will assume a more upright and prone riding position to improve bike handling in technical situations; with this in mind Castelli have sewn the Kiss3 pad further back on the Cross Sanremo Speedsuit to better suit that position with the added benefit of eliminating the potential for catching the crotch of the shorts on your saddle when re-mounting the bike.
Overall this is one serious piece of apparel that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of cyclo-cross racers at any level. Fit and comfort are unrivalled by any other short and jersey combination and the freedom of movement is exceptional to the extent that you almost feel naked!
If there is one upgrade I could recommend to performance oriented cyclo-cross racers that would be to invest in a Cross Sanremo Speedsuit!
Text: Nigel Elder
Photo: Toby Watson