We cast a critical eye over the 2017 versions of the major pro cycling teams' kit
The WorldTour squads have now all released details of their 2017 team clothing, as they prepare to launch into a new season.
New WorldTour teams Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe enter the top-level peloton for the first time, and bring with them a new set of kit.
Then there’s the UAE Abu Dhabi team’s offering, which is wildly different to its former incarnation as Lampre-Merida.
For most teams, though, it’s business as usual, with only minor changes to their clothing to reflect a change in sponsor or two.
Which is your favourite, or least favourite, kit? Let us know in the comments section below.
Trek-Segafredo – 4/5
What a difference a splash of red has made. The 2017 Trek-Segafredo kit was one of the last to be unveiled, but it already looks like one of the best-looking strips in the WorldTour. And with Alberto Contador and John Degenkolb on board for 2017, the team could make a big impression too.
Verdict: Looking good
UAE Abu Dhabi – 2/5
We’re going to give the UAE Abu Dhabi team some slack here, because the sponsor stepped in at the last minute to save the team after the original Chinese backers failed to come up with the money. There really wasn’t much time to rustle up an entire kit, so it’s amazing they managed anything.
Verdict: Functional, but not very pretty
Team Sunweb – 2/5
Team Sunweb – the new name for Giant-Alpecin – appear to have reverted to their 2014 kit, with a white background and black stripes rather than black with white stripes. Sunweb’s red logo has been dropped into the centre of the jersey. A predominantly white jersey will be cooler for the riders in the summer sun. The women’s team and men’s development team gets the same outfit.
Verdict: Rolling back the clock to 2014
Bora-Hansgrohe – 3/5
WorldTour debutants Bora-Hansgrohe have gone for the safe option of black kit, with highlights in white and cyan polka-dots. The brightly coloured helmets are a good touch, and will make the squad’s riders stand out in aerial shots. The version for world champion Peter Sagan is very classy, worthy of the attention it will receive during 2017.
Verdict: Nicely done
LottoNL-Jumbo – 4/5
The WorldTour’s only Dutch team have gone for black and yellow in 2017, ditching the white panels from their 2016 kit. The transformation in the Shimano-made kit is a success, keeping that all-important sponsor branding intact but updating the overall design into something much more contemporary.
Verdict: A big improvement
Quick-Step Floors – 3/5
Gone is the Etixx branding as the laminate floor giant takes full title sponsorship – but there’s something retro about the 2017 Quick-Step Floors team kit. It’s new, but old, harking back to previous versions of the long-running Belgian team’s outfits. As we’ve said elsewhere on this page, that’s no bad thing. We wouldn’t want Tom Boonen to wear some lurid change-for-change’s sake concoction in his last year before retiring, would we?
Verdict: Long-running team’s identity remains intact
BMC Racing Team – 3/5
Despite a change in clothing manufacturer from Pearl Izumi to Assos, the overall look of BMC’s kit remains relatively unchanged, with the familiar red and black block patterning. The most major change is the inclusion of white shoulder panels to incorporate the the logo of new sponsor, watch manufacturer Tag Heuer. The new white panels look a bit jarring compared to the rest of the kit, but maybe they’ll grow on us.
Verdict: A fairly muted return to top-flight racing for Assos
Orica-Scott – 4/5
When the GreenEdge team emerged in 2012, their kit featured quite a lot of white. Over the years, that has steadily faded away and now we’re left with a much more classy dark blue strip with green flashes. It has to be said, though, it is looking more and more like the Movistar kit – it was already hard to tell the two teams apart from aerial TV shots. It does look good, though.
Verdict: Orica’s kit gets better each year
Katusha-Alpecin – 3/5
New name and new kit for Katusha, as shampoo manufacturer Alpecin switches from Giant. The squad’s kit retains its red background from 2016, but with the new sponsor’s name boldly emblazoned across the chest – that’s what they’ve paid for, after all. A large Katusha ‘K’ on each shoulder will make the team’s riders stand out from the roadside. It’s going to take us a while to recognise Tony Martin wearing it, though.
Verdict: Neat integration of new sponsor
Bahrain-Merida – 4/5
New WorldTour team Bahrain-Merida have unveiled a good-looking kit that should stand out from the rest of the peloton. The red, blue and gold design is classic, yet different from anything else currently in the WorldTour.
Verdict: Looking good
Dimension Data – 4/5
The elements of the 2016 Dimension Data kit have been juggled around for 2017 to create a classy-looking offering strip for 2017 – although there’s something reminiscent of the original Leopard-Trek or GreenEdge team kit about it. A green stripe intersects the black upper section of the jersey and the white lower half and is continued around the back, with a subtle design including 28 hands that represent the number of riders in the team and “the children who receive help through the way how our 28 riders are racing” through the Qhubeka charity, say the team.
Verdict: Classic, but not ground-breaking
Astana – 3/5
Some change for the Kazakh team, as Astana have ditched the turquoise-coloured shorts and opted for a fade between the turquoise top and black shorts. Although at first it looks like someone has spray-painted the lower half of last year’s kit (badly), it does grow on you. We’re not sure about the yellow bands on the left leg gripper and right cuff, though, it reminds us of something or another.
Verdict: An improvement
Team Sky – 3/5
A change in clothing supplier from Rapha to Castelli has seen Team Sky’s kit retain its blue, white and black colour palette, but have a redesign. The lines running across the front of the jersey are said to represent Sky’s race victories, with the length of line representing the length of the race. Some cruel observers have said that it looked like the ancient arcade game, Frogger.
Verdict: Not sure you’ll see those lines in the aerial TV shots
Lotto-Soudal – 3/5
Barely any changes to the Lotto-Soudal kit for 2017, with a slight change in the position of the Belgian stripes (from cuff to chest), white stitching on the hems and a redesigned back panel. Although the jersey is relatively unchanged we’ll give top marks to the team for continuing to stick with black shorts rather than red or white.
Verdict: Bit of a freshen up, but otherwise business as usual
Movistar – 5/5
One first view, the Movistar kit does not look to have radically changed. That’s the same thought you have on second viewing, too, although you’ll spot that the front of the jersey no longer features the word ‘Movistar’ and the large green M is no longer 3D. But that’s about it, really. That’s fine, though, because the Endura-manufactured clothing has been one of the most popular team kits for the past few seasons.
Verdict: If it ain’t broke…
Cannondale-Drapac – 4/5
The Argyle continues, as Cannondale’s kit for 2017 gets a dash of red with the addition of Drapac as co-title sponsor for its first full season. Red cuffs and collar look pretty smart in the kit designed for 2017 by POC, and the team sensibly sticks with black shorts to match a block of black on the lower back of the jersey. Ryan Mullen, shown here modelling the kit, said he thought he looked like Shrek, but with no other squad wearing green, the team will definitely stand out.
Verdict: In a word, distinctive
FDJ – 2/5
ALÉ will be manufacturing French team FDJ‘s kit for 2017, but there appears to be little in the way of change from previous incarnations of the squad’s strip. Red, white and blue is the order of the day, with perhaps a little too much white in the shorts department. Dark blue shorts would look good, especially in the mud-spattered spring classics. There’s still a chance to change it before the Tour Down Under.
Verdict: White shorts. That is all
Ag2r – 3/5
Another team with already distinctive kit that has elected not to go for radical change: Ag2r‘s clothing retains the overall look of 2016’s offering. Like several other squads, the team has changed its kit supplier for 2017: out goes One Way, and in comes Italian brand Giessegi. The clothing now includes the name of British bike manufacturer Factor, who will be providing the French team with its machines for 2017. One mark off for retaining the brown shorts.
Verdict: Still looks a bit like wallpaper