With a new sponsor ahead of the 2021 season, SD Worx (formerly Boels-Dolmans) had an opportunity to differentiate their look, a chance to no longer be confused with the similar orange strip of CCC-Liv.
But as Liv Racing lost CCC as a title sponsor they were also re-designing their jersey over the winter. The outcome? Both teams chose purple and will once again be causing commentators and team cars headaches when trying to easily identify riders during a race.
“We had to take a good look from the car to see which riders were ours,” Liv Racing manager Eric van den Boom told NOS after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where SD Worx’s Anna van der Breggen had no trouble standing out, as she took the win resplendent in the world champion’s rainbow bands.
With Canyon-SRAM also sporting their usual purple strip, three of the nine WorldTour teams now wear the same colour. “Purple is apparently the new black,” Van den Boom added.
“We were happy that we had found a color scheme that was even less present in the peloton,” SD Worx’s Erwin Janssen said. “Last season we both had orange. At that time it was sometimes already hard to see [which rider was yours]. Now we both have a new sponsor. We look alike again. But you can’t blame anyone.”
When asked whether the UCI should supervise teams’ new kits to check for potential clashes, Van den Boom points out that the fronts of the jerseys don’t look that similar, so may not have been picked up, but it’s the back of the jerseys where the confusion arises.
“If you put them side by side, you wouldn’t think it looks that much alike from the front. It’s just the upper back out of the air and the shoulders straight out in front which makes it confusing,” Van den Boom said.
Janssen, however, thinks the UCI should notify teams if they’re going to be using similar colours to another squad, at least so if the team wants they can then go with a colourway that is unique in the bunch.
“The UCI should be allowed to take a look,” he said. “Maybe give some tips about what other teams have submitted for design. Ultimately, everyone wants to stand out. So you’d rather not have this.”