Cycling Fashion Flashback: The Molteni Jersey

The orange body a bright vibrant background on which the famous black strip sits, Molteni boldy emblazoned across it. Perhaps one of the most iconic cycling jerseys every manufactured, the Molteni ‘orange jersey’ is still replicated today for retro-fashionistas and fans. But who are Molteni? And what is it that made this jersey so iconic?

Who were team Molteni?

Molteni, an Italian cycling team with a career spanning 18 years (1958 – 1976), was led by the iconic Eddy Merckx, who, in the sixties, was an unstoppable force in the sport. Merckx first won the Tour de France in 1969, and is one of only four riders to win the tour five times, he went on to win it again in ’70, ’71, ’72 and ’74. Merckx’s reputation as a consistently hungry and aggressive rider was a huge force in the popularity of the Molteni team.

Merckx also broke the hour record, managing to cycle 49.4km. Other Molteni riders included Marino Basso, Gianni Motta and Rudi Altig, and helped them with almost two decades of big wins and accomplishments, including: 3 Tour de France GC wins, 4 Giro d’Italia GC wins, 1 Vuelta a España GC win, 3 World Championship wins and a load of one-day and classic races wins.

Eddy Merckx wearing Molteni team cycling jersey

Eddy Merckx


What makes the Molteni cycling kit so iconic?

The simple design and bold colours make the Molteni cycling kit special, but the riders made it iconic. Thanks to cyclists like Merckx, Basso and Motta, the kit is now associated with courageous cycling, fearless attacks and win after win after win. Yes the detailing is intricate, the typography proud and the contrasts patches striking, but the climbs, attacks and sprints made in this years have made it a thing of legends.

Image source: Anefo / Bert Verhoeff via Nationaal Archief

Writer and expert