138 Felix Lowe

Eurosport’s Felix Lowe casts his eye over the sea­son’s new pro kits

Cyclist - - Contents - Felix Lowe

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

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