The first photographs have been published of freshly-crowned road race world champion Peter Sagan in his pristine rainbow-striped Tinkoff-Saxo cycling kit – and we’re almost afraid to report that he’s gone for white shorts.
The use of white shorts for professional riders is almost as contentious an issue among die-hard cycling fans as long, black socks. They don’t like them.
White shorts to match the traditional white top with rainbow bands is seen as a bit too flash. But, worse than that, no-one likes to see a grotty pair of white shorts when the roads get wet and muddy – as they inevitably do during the spring classics.
As well as his new kit, Sagan was also showing off a newly customised Specialized S-Works Tarmac, with a customised paint-job echoing the rainbow bands on his jersey.
Mark Cavendish famously eschewed the full-on white ensemble during his tenure as world champion in 2011/2012. He stuck with the classic black shorts, turning his back on the sartorial bling introduced by the likes of Mario Cipollini and Paolo Bettini.
Such is the stigma attached to white shorts, that when British women’s road race world champion Lizzie Armitstead posted a photo of herself in her new rainbow-striped kit last week, she apologised for the use of white shorts. “First training ride in my stripes, don’t worry black shorts have been ordered”.
White shorts or not, Sagan has proved to be a very popular world champion already. He’ll be back in action and in his new kit at the Abu Dhabi Tour in the Middle East, starting on Thursday, October 8. Thankfully, the roads should be dry.