If you’re a hardcore cyclist, style plays a big part in how you present yourself. If you’re a pro rider, not so much.
At the top level, you’re pretty much a slave to your sponsors and how they want todesign your kit. You just pretty much hope that they have some taste.
The Tour de France starts Saturday and the whole world will have their eyes on these twenty two teams.
Some kits are better than others. Some kits are way better than others.
Is it fair to nitpick over fashion to take away from the competition ahead? Yes or you don’t know cycling.
I divided the teams into Continental and World Tour teams because once again, this is fashion. Let’s be elitist!
Uggh… What a step back for society. While all I can think about is the word bland and how cheap the logo looks against the red background, this cycling sponsor is celebrating their 20th season showcasing that they have not been the most progressive over the years.
3. Fortuneo-Vital Concept
This is the team’s third straight year as a wildcard team in the Tour de France, but first with this new title sponsor. Still, the jerseys are not a far departure from last year’s kit, so chalk this up as an opportunity lost.
2. Bora-Argon 18
Not a lot to distinguish themselves from the other team I just ranked. Why did I rank them ahead? Slightly better colors and that German flag stripe in the middle is a nice accent. That’s about it though.
1. Direct Energie
Clear winner on the continental side and even a strong contender for best overall jersey. The kit looks modern without distracting too much from its space agey-ness. They should get a lot of air time the way Thomas Voeckler always mugs for the camera.
World Tour Teams:
Almost the most ugly color you could put on a jersey. I never even see local team kits dare to adopt this belched teal. Astana has won the last two Grand Tours, so maybe they work in that their riders can’t wait to get out of them.
17. Lampre – Merida
On the upside, these jerseys are a hundred times better than the ones from the past. On the downside, they are still horrendous. I wish Joan Rivers was still around because I don’t even have the words.
If there was any motivation for Peter Sagan to win that World Champion jersey last year, it probably came from not having to don the Tinkoff awkwardly colored kit anymore. Is it fluorescent yellow or green? I keep asking this. I shouldn’t be wasting brainpower on this and Sagan must have had this revelation too.
15. Lotto Jumbo NL
In a way, this is the most contextual jersey out there. I want to play the lottery! At the same time, I don’t want to ride feeling like I work for the lottery.
14, Orica Bike Exchange
I waited all week to post this column knowing there would be a new jersey coming with the switch of sponsors from Greenedge to Bike Exchange. Glass half full review: the white is gone. Glass half bad: still pretty bland. Oy!
The team has been doing that annoying thing where they slightly alter their kits every year or two. Considering the company’s logo is an ugly, green blob, their kit doesn’t look so bad after all.
12. Etixx – Quick Step
Quick Step has been involved with cycling for years, but they have finally found a partner in Etixx that makes their jerseys look a little more classy. Still, that black and blue combo looks bland on TV.
11. Lotto Soudal
Poor Andre Greipel being stuck in his team’s ugly kits for years. This design was a bit of a sea change from season’s past, while it harkens back to cycling’s earlier days. I just wish they didn’t share the colors of Cofidis.
10. Team Giant Alpecin
I would have ranked them lower, but they just introduced these white kits for the Tour this week. The inversion of darkness definitely makes a great improvement while taking away the blockiness of their regular jersey.
9. Team Dimension Data
From switching sponsors from MTN–Qhubeka to Dimension Data, this second year world tour team went to a simpler, cleaner kit. It doesn’t wow you and the Cervelo logo on the arms makes you think of those old Garmin kits, but nothing to be ashamed about.
I’ve had trouble understanding their past jerseys because there was too much going on. Still have year I still have trouble understanding it, but at least I love supergraphics.
I’ve liked their jerseys for awhile, but their style isn’t timeless in the way the Montreal Canadians or New York Yankees are. It’s time for an update even if it’s something slightly more progressive.
6. IAM Cycling
Last year was this team’s first on the World Tour and I was a fan of their jersey. This season’s kit has the same design as last, but just a reordering of color. They took a step back.
I’ve always appreciated the crisp and elegant designwork from FDJ’s jerseys, but this year’s version made it look like they tried too hard. Still, they gain points for originality.
4. Cannondale Drapac
When the Argyled Garmin merged with the fluorescented Cannondale two years ago, I was anxious to see what type of love child they would produced. Last year’s black mashup looked halfway pregnant, but this year they embraced these two main elements and ran with it. They got style points because I thought there was no way of making this work.
Late breaking news: Cannondale just merged with Drapac two days before the Tour de France. I bumped the team down a knotch because the bright red addition is an awkward add on. I hope they’ll improve this next season.
I liked the team’s Radioshack designs in the past, but the move to Trek caused some blandness. I’m finally taking notice because his season’s redesign looks far classier. The vertical pinstripes are nice accents that look far better in action.
2. AG2R La Mondiale
Brown & blue. Who would ever think about pairing this two colors together? Yet somehow this color scheme stands out year after year. Those rectangle motifs are unexplainable(maybe I’d understand if I spoke french), but just a nice detail. I wish more teams would be risk takers like AG2R.
1. Team Sky
They’re an easy team to hate because they’re robotic and successful, and you’ll never find me spend that kind of money on Rapha, but you have to hand it to Sky. Their kits are a perfect blend of modern and classy. They’re so clean you almost forget about the sponsor’s logos. It’ll be interesting to see what their jerseys look like next year when the Rapha-Sky split occurs.