Teams change and merge while sponsors come and go. But one constant remains: Cycling Weekly’s annual critique of WorldTour fashion. Ellis Bacon gives us the rundown
There’s a distinct lack of new kit designs in this year’s UCI WorldTour, which is a shame if you’re looking for something new, but good news if you’re looking to stay on-trend with the kit you bought last year. Far too many teams have clearly just pocketed the budget, set their washing machines to 60°C and hoped for the best.
As usual, our scores are on an ‘out of five’ basis, so unfortunately that means there’s still no chance of a Len Goodman style “seveeeeen!”
Lampre-Merida – 2/5
Little discernible change from their 2014 team kits, with just a few logos shuffled around. Think Barney & Friends — yeah, like you don’t know the children’s TV show about a purple and green dinosaur. If that sounds a little mean, just consider that Barney probably has more fans than any cycling team, albeit all under the age of six.
Katusha – 3/5
A much whiter jersey design for Katusha in 2015 — which should help it stand out among all the black kits — with plenty of red and blue stripes, paired with red shorts. This Russian squad’s kit is almost as patriotic as FDJ’s.
Verdict: Russian colours for a Russian team, but little wow factor.
Astana – 3/5
While the UCI continues to breathe down the necks of this Kazakh team, the biggest difference the designers seem to have made to the kit is to give it a yellow collar. We’re giving it a three, but the jury’s still very much out on this one. Consider it on probation — much like the team’s place in the WorldTour.
Verdict: Hung jury.
BMC – 3/5
No big changes to this blocky black and red kit, which is swiftly heading towards becoming a design classic. It might be a bit ‘ZX Spectrum’ for our liking, but it stands out in the bunch, and you can’t ask for much more from a design than that.
Verdict: Does the job.
IAM Cycling – 3/5
This team’s gone a little under the radar since its formation in 2013, but now that the Swiss squad have made the jump up to the top-tier WorldTour for 2015, their predominantly navy kit design will be enjoyed by a lot more people. A clean and orderly design — much like Switzerland.
Verdict: Nice enough, but lacking a certain something.
Ag2r-La Mondiale – 4/5
We’ve loved the brown-tinged kit in previous years — brown! — and we still love it now. Additional points awarded for the extra Jean-Christophe Péraud and Romain Bardet love we now feel, too, following the pair’s extraordinary second and sixth places overall, respectively, at last year’s Tour de France.
Verdict: Best brown uniform since the Brownies.
Etixx-Quick Step – 3/5
In 2015, Etixx nutrition products become the title name of what was the Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad, but the kit remains virtually unchanged, save for a welcome reduction in the amount of black thanks to a more prevalent powder blue lower section of the jersey.
Verdict: Very smart, and likely to be a good seller thanks to Cavendish’s patronage.
FDJ – 2/5
What have they done?! We described last year’s all-blue kit as “classy and clean”, whereas this year’s looks like it’s been designed by a drunk French harlequin. Which of course may have been the look they were going for, but it simply isn’t a patch on the 2014 version.
Verdict: Buy last year’s kit on eBay.
Cannondale-Garmin – 4/5
Yes, it’s another black kit, but it’s been classily executed, with the sections of green really ‘popping’, as they say, although the famous argyle has been dampened down a little.
Verdict: Highly visible — a team kit’s raison d’être — and certain to be popular with the masses.
Trek Factory Racing – 3/5
The new white section of the jersey provides a wonderful monochromatic clash with the black, pinstriped bottom two thirds of the kit — the equivalent, perhaps, of pairing a white T-shirt with some posh suit trousers. Very fashion forward, bordering on normcore.
Verdict: The bright white’s a bit of all right.
LottoNL-Jumbo – 4/5
Bye-bye, Belkin green. Hello, LottoNL yellow, you cheeky thing, you. Take that, completely black kits! Canary yellow is where it’s at for deux mille quinze. The question now is: will they have a ‘second kit’ to avoid ‘yellow-jersey clash’ for the Tour?
Verdict: One of very few genuinely new kits for 2015, and a highly original one at that.
Team Sky – 4/5
Almost single-handedly responsible for moving beyond the dayglo 80s/90s Lycra that used to make you so popular with your friends, Rapha introduced the Henry Ford black to cycling in 2004. Everyone is now in black, although there were rumours that Sky might have switched their colours to light blue this season. Maybe next year.
Verdict: Resting on their laurels, fashion-wise.
Giant-Alpecin – 5/5
Last year’s black and white stripes have been reversed, and flashes of blue have been added to go with the red logo of miracle hair growing co-sponsor Alpecin. Just look at Marcel Kittel’s hair!* This design’s likely to get plenty of camera time thanks mainly to the team’s prolific star sprinter, too.
Verdict: Our winner. Nice.
*OK, it’s a caffeine shampoo, and Kittel’s hair was already like that. But now it’s going to be, like, really thick and strong.
Movistar – 3/5
Movistar’s star names include Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, as well as Britain’s own Alex Dowsett. There’s not much else to report about yet another kit that hasn’t really changed for 2015 — although it’s one we’d agree doesn’t really need to.
Verdict: [sings] ‘In the Navy’.
Come on, designers! Again, no big changes here that we could see as the season got under way in Australia recently. A pretty unique colour combo of white, navy and green does the job nicely, though, ensuring that this Aussie squad is easy to spot.
Lotto-Soudal – 4/5
Although certain to be confused, name-wise, with the new Dutch LottoNL-Jumbo team, luckily the two lottery-sponsored teams’ kits are a million miles away from each other, design-wise. This Belgian team retains their lovely retro-red jersey of 2014, but with the addition of new co-sponsor Soudal’s name, which enjoys the same ‘no logo’ font as the main sponsor.
Verdict: Crisp, clear and classy.
We predicted an ‘away kit’ for the Tour last year, and Tinkoff-Saxo duly delivered, with a sassy fluoro yellow number replacing their usual yellow. They’ve adopted a similarly bright design for the whole of 2015 — and it’s a great real-world design for recreational cyclists attempting to stay safe and be seen.
Verdict: Wot, no sarky comment? Not us!
Images by: Ruinenfotografie.com, Tim De Waele, Graham Watson, Cannondale-Garmin, Ag2r La Mondiale