Throughout some of the biggest races of 2021 - the Tour de France, and also the Critérium du Dauphiné - there's been something a little odd-looking about the Jumbo-Visma squad.
The black and yellow of their jerseys is the same, and by now we've grown used to them riding matching Cervélos instead of Celeste Bianchis, but look more closely, and you could spot that some of the riders have been sporting blue tyres.
The voice of race radio for ASO races, Seb Piquet, was the first to spot these tyres from his vantage point inside the race director's car at the Critérium du Dauphiné, noticing that some of the Jumbo-Visma squad had a different colour front tyre, their back one remaining the usual black.
Anyone know why some @JumboVismaRoad riders have a blue tyre at front ? @dauphine #Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/uHaOgxItxvMay 30, 2021
Unfortunately, it's not the latest technological innovation, boffins in a wind tunnel somewhere discovering that blue is more aero than black, but is actually due to a commercial partnership the team has with a company called Swapfiets.
Swapfiets are a bicycle subscription service operating in a number of European cities that provide members with an "always functioning bike", their service cars with bikes on the roof often spotted in major metropolitan areas, and the bikes recognisable due to their front blue tyre.
So, a marketing ploy, but a clever one. Hopefully, we'll next see EF Education-Nippo with tie-dye tyres or Bahrain-Victorious with luminous orange.
“Swapfiets is an innovative leader when it comes to urban cycling. Our team is innovative in our way of working, so we match with Swapfiets and you will see that in the peloton," said Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge.
"We both believe the more people cycle the better it is for the health of everyone and the cities we live in. Together we will help people to cycle more, as a sport as well as day-to-day. We hope that someday our next star athlete will have started his career on a Swapfiets road race bike."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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