George Bennett's national champion's jersey design rejected by New Zealand federation

Jumbo-Visma has shared an image of what the kit would have looked like

(Image credit: Getty Images,)

George Bennett took the national championships road race in New Zealand earlier this year, a title he has been fighting for as one of his main career goals.

But the celebrations have been slightly spoilt by the cycling federation in New Zealand, which has declined Bennett's chosen kit, designed by Jumbo-Visma's kit maker AGU and Bennett's wife, Caitlin Fielder.

Speaking in The Social Distance Podcast, Bennett said: "AGU and the team produced this amazing jersey. It was just the coolest jersey. Then Caitlin did a couple of tiny little touches and we were like ‘sweet’.

"We were all excited, we emailed Bike NZ and said 'hey guys, we’re really proud to show that this is the jersey we’ll be wearing this year', and Bike NZ were like ‘nah.’"

To give some background, the national federations have to be sent the national champion's kit designs and decides whether it is suitable or not.

General manager of Jumbo-Visma Richard Plugge posted an image of what the jersey would look like on Twitter to share with Thomas Van den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics.

See more

Bennett explained: "It was black with a silver fern, and they said 'we’re too worried it’ll get confused with the national jersey'. I was like ‘what, in case the national team start the Giro d’Italia?’

"They just shut it down so hard. We went to the UCI and they basically told the UCI ‘no, we’ve registered a white jersey with a black fern’. They just crushed it, and now we’ve ended up with a jersey that's alright but it’s not striking. It was an awesome striking jersey that looked so cool."

The CEO of Cycling New Zealand, Jacques Landry, explained the reasons as to why the jersey was not accepted in a statement sent to Cyclingnews, saying: "We have national champions across all of our disciplines and events who wear the same shirt with the same registered design.

"It is simply not possible nor is it the correct process to make such a fundamental change to the jersey design two months into the year on the request of one national champion.

"That said, we are more than happy to discuss a potential change to the design of the national champion's jersey going forward which would need to go through the correct process, including input from the Athletes’ Voice Committee members who represent all of our Olympic and soon to be Paralympic codes."

>>> ‘It’s been a f**king nightmare’: How Brexit is impacting the careers of British riders 

The usual NZ champion's design is a white jersey with a black fern on the front and back, whereas the national team kit is black with a white fern.

One Jumbo-Visma rider, Mike Teunissen, joked in a tweet saying "at least no 5,000 CHF fine, could be worse."

See more

National champions jerseys often throw up debate among cycling fans, as teams often vary their designs greatly, but cycling federations have very strict rules that must be followed otherwise they could face a fine.

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.