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