The UCI has rejected the pink jersey of Basque squad Bizkaia Durango, shortly after offering the same verdict to the jerseys of Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch and British team AWOL O’Shea.
On Tuesday morning the Spanish squad announced on its social media feeds that the UCI had rejected two designs.
Before Christmas, it emerged that two other second tier squads had their 2022 kits rejected, reportedly due to a clash with those of three WorldTeams.
British team AWOL O’Shea and Luxembourg registered Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch had hoped to re-use their 2021 designs, but were refused as they clashed with new - and remarkably similar - jerseys from WorldTeams SDWorx, Human Powered Health and UAE-ADQ.
The rejection of Bizkaia-Durango’s kit comes very late in the day. Riders should already be wearing it in training, and the first European races are less than five weeks away. Not only that, but big kit reveals are a useful way to get sponsor's names out there before racing commences.
“At this late time of the preseason we would have loved to show our kit for the 2022 season, but sadly we cannot yet,” read Bizkaia-Durango’s team statement.
“We have worn pink for the last six seasons and this has become one of the hallmarks of the team. The Union Cycliste International has rejected two different designs of our kit due to their similarity with the UCI Women’s WorldTour leader’s jersey.”
Since its inception in 2016 the UCI has required the leader of the Women’s WorldTour individual classification to wear a purple jersey. This makes the governing body's diktat confusing, as Bizkaia-Druango’s proposed kit is pink, and bears little resemblance to the UCI’s colours - unless, these are due to change for 2022.
As television coverage of the women’s sport increases - something the governing body have driven - the UCI’s desire to avoid colour clashes is an understandable one. Last year the jerseys of Canyon-SRAM, Liv Racing and SDWorx were all predominantly purple, making it difficult for commentators and fans to distinguish between squads. This was exacerbated when the WorldTour jersey was present.
The UCI has not, it appears, rejected the kits of SDWorx, Human Powered Health and UAE-ADQ - which have been highlighted as sharing similarities through the use of pink/purple fades and yellow highlights, though, they do not clash with the UCI’s own jersey.
While Cycling Weekly understands neither AWOL O’Shea or Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch are out of pocket as a result of their kit being rejected, that is due only to the goodwill of their sponsors.
UCI Regulation 1.3 requires teams submit their kit on or before December 1st preceding the season in which they are to be used. It also dictates kit to be distinct from that of world champions, and UCI classification leaders’ jerseys.
Despite this, one team manager Cycling Weekly spoke to about the issue told us they, “got [the] strong impression UCI didn’t understand their own guidance.”
Cycling Weekly approached the UCI for comment on this issue before the festive season and since, but have not yet received a response.
Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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