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All change : kit swapping in the World Tour

World Tour cycling kits
Felix Lowe
2 Mar 2016

A new season of pro racing means a raft of new team names and jerseys. Felix Lowe tries to get his head around it all.

Imagine if football was the same as cycling. In this year’s Premier League you would have Team Chang Beer lining up against Team Wonga. The north London derby would pit Emirates against AIA, and you’d have to place your bets on a clash between Betway and Bet365. 

Sponsors are integral to the game of football but not to the extent that teams are named after them. Manchester United remains Manchester United whether they get their money from AIG, Aon or ANother. For us cycling fans, it’s a much trickier business. The annual whirl of team names and jersey colours in the WorldTour means we need to keep close tabs on who’s called what, or we could find ourselves cheering on the wrong Lotto. So here’s my look at the movers and monikers for 2016…

This year, Trek have woken up and smelt the coffee. No, they’re not putting Yaroslav Popovych out to pasture, they welcome Italian coffee brand Segafredo onboard as co-sponsor. Apparently they are fully committed to letting Fabian Cancellara, ahem, espress himself, and they’re excited about their new americano signing, Ryder Hesjedal. As for the kit, it remains largely unchanged: black underneath, white on top – just like a macchiato.

Over at Dimension Data, which was previously MTN-Qhubeka, the tipple of choice is wine, thanks to their partnership with South African brand Nederburg Wine. They’ll be hoping that new boy Mark Cavendish will give them an excuse to pop a few corks, although they might be wary of inviting their main sponsors to any post-event parties. After all, who wants to get caught in the corner with the IT nerds from Data Dimension or the tax consultants from Deloitte? Could it be that the sponsors’ influence explains why the team has abandoned its jaunty striped jerseys in favour of a more sober all-black look?

Thanks, then, to Team Tinkoff whose eye-catching camouflage training kit from last season has been replaced by an even more outlandish design that looks like a surrealist zebra. With Saxo Bank’s account now closed, Tinkoff’s fluoro yellow racing kit is more lurid than usual, although purists will welcome World Champion Peter Sagan pooh-poohing the white shorts (so to speak). 

Over at Katusha, the team has undergone a rebranding to turn it from the nationalistic ‘Global Russian Cycling Project’ into a more friendly international outfit with the motto ‘Race to Win’. Out has gone the white, blue and red of the Russian flag, and in has come an all-red jersey and bibs combo with a giant K emblazoned across the chest – prominent enough to raise tensions should three Katusha riders escape during the Tour of Tennessee.

No sooner had Katusha launched their new identity than the UCI published a new rule stipulating that no kits can clash with a Grand Tour leader’s jersey. So we may see some changes to Katusha’s threads during the Vuelta. This may also explain why LottoNL-Jumbo have expanded the white panel on their shirts at the expense of the yellow, which last year gave the outlandish impression that a Dutchman led the Tour for the first time since 1989.

No sooner had Katusha launched their new identity than the UCI published a new rule stipulating that no kits can clash with a Grand Tour leader’s jersey. So we may see some changes to Katusha’s threads during the Vuelta. This may also explain why LottoNL-Jumbo have expanded the white panel on their shirts at the expense of the yellow, which last year gave the outlandish impression that a Dutchman led the Tour for the first time since 1989.

Elsewhere, Cannondale look to overcome their Garmin-less disorientation by returning to their electric green roots (with a hint of Argyle). In Belgium, Lotto Soudal now sport Mobiflex, a dietary supplement, on the left-hand side of their shorts, while Etixx-Quick-Step have German supermarket Lidl’s logo emblazoned across the taut posteriors of Marcel Kittel et al (every Lidl helps).

Etixx have abandoned the aquamarine of last year’s strip and brought in a new royal blue and black colour scheme, while Team Sky have updated their black canvas with the addition of white and turquoise go-faster brevet stripes across the chests of their jerseys. With the late addition of Ford to the Sky sponsor list, we suspect that all the riders will need to return their team kits to Rapha so that the car manufacturer’s oval logo can be stamped across the butt.

As for Kazakh squad Astana, the kit remains virtually unchanged from last season. They are one team we don’t expect to change their colours any time soon.

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