An ITC project manager's enthusiasm for cycling led to a
historic link between ASSOS, one of the biggest names in cyclists'
clothing, and Textiline, a small, service-oriented Kazakh company.
Together, they established the world's first line of "after-bike"
Kazakhstan has a long history in the textile business and, until
the collapse of the Soviet Union, it produced textiles and apparel
for the whole country. In the 1990s, the former Soviet republic's
industry was privatized, but needed assistance to be able to
compete in world markets.
The ASSOS-Textiline deal is part of a larger ITC initiative,
financed by the Swiss Government and the United Nations Development
Programme, that has helped Kazakh clothing manufacturers become
In 2000, as part of a project to make contacts between Western
buyers and Kazakh manufacturers, an ITC project manager, who is an
avid cyclist, decided to contact the Swiss firm ASSOS, which
produced his favourite brand of sportswear for cyclists. ASSOS was
founded 30 years ago to bring avant-garde technologies and
innovative engineering to the world of cycling. For example, it
invented the first Lycra cycling short in 1977. Cyclists using
ASSOS products have won more than 200 gold medals at Olympic Games,
world championships and other professional cycling races, and have
frequently worn the coveted "yellow jersey", a T-shirt presented to
the current overall leader of many bicycle races.