138 Felix Lowe
Eurosport’s Felix Lowe casts his eye over the season’s new pro kits
Eurosport’s pro cycling blogger turns fashion correspondent to run through this season’s new team kits and ponder the question: where has all the black gone?
Do you remember when Team Sky first started warming down on rollers and colour co-ordinating their hydration strategies? Every other team was soon at marginal pains to copy the new coolest kids in the playground and overnight there were more black kits on display than in a teenage goth’s wardrobe.
In 2018 that has all changed. The only team swimming with the black tide – offset with questionable bogey green – is MitcheltonScott. (Mitchelton replaces mining giant Orica as the Aussie squad’s main sponsor, and its owner, Gerry Ryan, is digging deep into his own pockets via his wine business, hotel and spa. Think Oleg Tinkov’s La Datcha chalets, but with less vodka.)
Sky have ditched black for a translucent kit that will make rainy races look like a wet T-shirt competition. Dare I say it, the white and light blue even mirrors the colours used by the Ventolin brand of inhalers.
Blue is everywhere this year, although the shades are changing. Movistar have swapped their dark blue for a lighter shade closer to the turquoise of Astana, while AG2R-LA Mondiale have ditched their trademark diamonds in favour of brown, white and blue stripes that look a bit like Liquorice Allsorts.
FDJ welcome a new title sponsor in Groupama – an insurance company with a green logo – but Thibaut Pinot’s team have promised to keep their traditional red, white and blue kit. Quick-step Floors have opted for a deeper navy number, while BahrainMerida have kept their Oxford blue but moved it from their shoulders to their flanks.
Even BMC have added some blue to their kit, but only in the form of an azure collar (the colour of new co-sponsor Sophos), which clashes hideously with the rest of their red and black jerseys. Add in the green Tag Heuer logo on the sleeve, and special gold bands for Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, and it really is a shocker. Not even IT security company Sophos can stem the cyber-bullying on Twitter.
Katusha-alpecin’s previously white shoulders have also turned blue, although it is of such a subtle shade that it could simply be that a soigneur put the whole team’s kits in the wash with one of his own blue socks.
All this blue should allow Dimension Data to stand out. They’ve updated their green, white and black ensemble to striking effect, although one fears it will be as close to green as Cav will come this summer. Meanwhile, former green machine Cannondale-drapac have transformed into a striking pink, green and white team with the snappy name of EF Education First-drapac powered by Cannondale. It’s more of a mouthful than Fabio Aru.
Talking of whom, it’s business as usual for UAE Team Emirates with their corporate mulch of a kit. Lotto Soudal have channelled the classic Faema look while adding jaunty coloured spheres on the reverse, while Sunweb add only a large red S on the back of their Juventus-inspired jersey.
This just leaves the three kits that rival EF Education Et Cetera for the title of best in the business: Trek-segafredo, Bora-hansgrohe and Lottonl-jumbo. Trek’s pinstripe scarlet look is elegant, while Lotto look the bees’ knees in yellow and black. Look closely, and you’ll spot a tweaked logo for the Dutch team – yet the same lotto numbers remain across the chest (numbers which, had they been selected in the UK lotto, would have yielded a grand total of £75 and five free tickets from the past 180 draws). Each Lottonl-jumbo rider will have a numbered ball of their own choice on their jersey – though it’s not quite Sky, whose riders have their names emblazoned across the back, or Quick-step, whose pockets boast both names and flags.
But it’s Bora’s aquamarine and spearmint triangular block-fade pointing towards the crotch that wins the day. And coincidentally, it’s this retro-futurist gem of a kit – rather than the mountainous course in Innsbruck – which will probably end Sagan’s reign as World Champion. Even rainbow stripes don’t look this good. Felix Lowe needs to change lottery numbers