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The forever-changing landscape of team kit and colours

Felix Lowe
6 Mar 2017

Every new season brings with it new teams, new sponsors and strange new kit choices. Here Felix Lowe unpicks the Class of 2017

The peloton’s most eye-catching team is no more. A garish combination of dark blue, shocking fuschia pink and acid green helped the Lampre-Merida kit to stand out from the pack.

Sadly, the Italian team rarely stood atop the podium, so now one of the most recognisable squads in the WorldTour has vanished, to re-emerge phoenix-like in a new guise as UAE Abu Dhabi, with a distinctly drab black and white jersey.

In a crowded peloton, it would be easy to mistake this new bunch, with its Middle Eastern sponsor, for equally monotone teams such as Giant-Alpecin or Trek-Segafredo, except that one of those teams doesn’t exist any more, and the other (Trek-Segafredo) has opted to swap its black and white for a more jolly red number this year.

Giant-Alpecin has become Team Sunweb, but still retains the black and white kit, just to ensure that it is impossible to tell them apart from UAE Abu Dhabi, Bora-Hansgrohe (Peter Sagan’s new team), Team Sky, Dimension Data… the combined effect is to look like a pack of zebras migrating across the Serengeti. 

Trek-Segafredo’s daring splash of red will thankfully set them apart from the black and white collective, but it really only serves to make them indistinguishable from equally red-clad BMC, Katusha, Lotto-Soudal and professional cycling’s latest team, Bahrain-Merida.

Confusingly, despite the bike manufacturer suffix, Bahrain-Merida – the only wholly new WorldTour team for 2017 – have nothing to do with Lampre-Merida, which, as we’ve seen, is now sponsored by a Middle Eastern nation. 

Just like Bahrain-Merida. Still with us?

To add to the kit confusion, it’s now impossible to tell Spanish outfit Movistar apart from Orica-Scott (née BikeExchange, née GreenEdge), so expect Esteban Chaves and Nairo Quintana to be all but indistinguishable bar the fact that one never smiles and the other never stops smiling.

Kazakhstan-sponsored squad Astana have finally looked in the crotch mirror and, as a result, have opted to dip their baby blue bibs in oil up to the waistline.

If only French team FDJ would do the same – despite having a new clothing suppler in Alé, they have returned for 2017 with a virtually unchanged kit, complete with bright white bibshorts that promise to resemble a Jackson Pollock dirty protest after a muddy day at the Spring Classics

They are not the only traditionalists for whom major change would represent something as rum as, say, actually training for a team time-trial.

The blue-collar journeymen at AG2R-La Mondiale are unchanged, except they are now brown-collared. Cannondale-Drapac are still the only entity since Freddy Krueger to think green and red is an acceptable combination.

Dimension Data have added a green flash worthy of Dunlop in a bid to make Cav feel like it’s 2011 all over again.

And Team Sky’s Castelli-designed dashes basically look the same as last year from a distance (but can be delivered to the Alps from Manchester free of charge, apparently).

LottoNL-Jumbo have retained their eye-catching yellow jerseys, but added a bit of black up top for a new waspish feel.

Meanwhile, after two years in the shadow of Etixx, Quick-Step has emerged as sole title sponsor of Belgium’s biggest team, this time while celebrating their laminate flooring heritage.

Quick-Step Floors have also rolled back the years by ditching the dark blue and black for light blue and white – harking back to an era when Ian Stannard couldn’t defy a whole army of their own. 

In stark contrast, fellow Belgians Lotto Soudal have done nothing to their red threads besides adding a new shoulder sponsor in CAPS (written in caps). 

So there you have it. You’ve got nine months of racing to get used to the new line-up before it all changes again.

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