EF Education First unveil stylish new tie-dye Rapha kit on eve of Tour Down Under

The last WorldTour kit to be revealed is likely to make quite a splash

(Image credit: Wig-Worland-2018)

EF Education First have finally unveiled their ultra-stylish, Rapha-designed 2019 kit ahead of the first race of the season.

The team has kept fans waiting to see the new strip as they become the last outfit to reveal the new colours after a change of kit sponsor.

EF Education First are partnering with Rapha for the first time, marking the British luxury clothing brand’s return to the peloton after a two-year absence.

The new tie-dye design is a radical departure from conventional professional cycling strips.

The new EF Education First kit, designed by Rapha (Picture: Rapha)
(Image credit: Wig-Worland-2018)

Rapha chief executive Simon Mottram said: “We love this sport but know it has to change.

“With our partnership with EF and this new kit design, we hope to bring more excitement to racing and encourage more fans to follow the greatest sport in the world.”

>>> Which WorldTour team has the best kit for 2019?

Rapha were the clothing sponsor of Team Sky from 2013 until 2017, but the partnership came to an end with the British WorldTour outfit switching to Castelli kit.

Since leaving the professional peloton the brand has undergone major changes, including being sold to the heirs of the Walmart supermarket chain two years ago.

All black kit was used by EF pros in the first week of 2019 (Picture: Rapha)
(Image credit: Wig-Worland-2018)

Rapha now returns to top tier racing with American team EF Education first, who switch from POC as their apparel provider.

Businessman and owner of private schooling company EF Education first, Edward Hult, said: “We love the new 2019 team kit Rapha designed.

“It’s bold and it will stand out in the peloton and beyond – especially as the EF Education First team embarks on a unique racing season.

“At EF, we believe that good things happen when people step outside their comfort zones and try something new.

“Our athletes do it all the time, and it’s great to have a kit that celebrates them and that innovative spirit.”

Rapha designed the kit to stand out in the peloton (Picture: Rapha)
(Image credit: Wig-Worland-2018)

EF Education first is the last WorldTour team to unveil their kit for the new season, with their riders wearing blacked-out Rapha kit so far in 2019.

The team say the pink and blue pattern of the kits is designed to be immediately recognisable by fans, team staff and riders.

>>> EF Education First-Drapac riders to take part in ultra-endurance events as part of new Rapha sponsorship

Pink is a colour closely linked with both the EF and Rapha brands.

The kit, which will make its debut appearance at the Tour Down next week, is designed to “disrupt the professional peloton” and bring a new approach to team sponsorship, Rapha said.

According to the kit manufacturer, the design was inspired by the free spirit of the team and its riders.

The new strip will be debuted at the Tour Down Under (Picture: Rapha)
(Image credit: Wig-Worland-2018)

The EF pros seem to be fans of the kit.

Lawson Craddock said: “I love it. It’s something that’s never been seen in the peloton before.

“My wife is going to love this – we’re going to be seen from outer space.

“It’s complicated by it’s very simple too. It’s the attention to detail – it’s very carefully thought out from top to bottom.”

Taylor Phinney added: “Fo’ sho’ dude, nobody looks this cool [sic].

“I’ve always wanted to be part of a team where I felt good in kit.”

EF Education First riders are due to ride an “alternative calendar” in 2019 as a way of helping fans engage with personalities on the team.

The list of off-the-beaten-track events includes cyclocross and ultra-endurance tests.

Thank you for reading 20 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

Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.