Think of the hallmarks that define the Giro d'Italia and you'll likely imagine the crazed tifosi lining roads three deep, Il Garibaldi, the route book, and of course Italy itself, Bel Paese.
But in recent years there's been an additional staple added to both the men's and women's races: the EF Education pro cycling teams ‘switch out’ kit and bike.
With the sport’s governing body insisting they give up their regular pink jersey out of respect to the race’s maglia rosa, the US-based team has used the mandate to create one-off designs that have, to date, turned heads and divided opinion.
This year they’ve opted for an approach that we can all get behind. Teaming up with clothing sponsor Rapha they’ve created a livery using upcycled materials. They’ll race in Italy with a kit that’s made up of 72% recycled fabric and yarn that would have otherwise been sent to landfill.
But the sustainable approach doesn’t stop there. Instead of manufacturing a quiver of new bikes for the Giro, the team has instead repurposed a few Cannondale LAB71 SuperSix EVO framesets using excess paint to reflect the kit design. Handpainted, it means that each rider’s bike is unique. While we often refer to bikes as ‘works of art’, the Giro-ready SuperSixs are just that.
EF Education-EasyPost’s eight-man team that will line up at the grande partenza in Abruzzo on Saturday includes the GC hopeful Rigoberto Uran, the in-form Irishman Ben Healy, climber extraordinaire Hugh Carthy, stage hunter Magnus Cort, South African rouleur Stefan de Bod and home favourite Alberto Bettoil.
Alongside their individually painted Cannondale frames, the team will use Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets, Vision wheels and cockpits, Vittoria tires, Prologo saddles and pedals and computers from Wahoo.
“We have to approach this Giro with humility and a bold attitude,” says sports director Matti Breschel. “This is one of the strongest teams that we have ever brought to the Giro. Hugh is really strong and Rigo is really on it. We have tons of experience. It is going to be a very honest race. We will have to fight every day to achieve something. You never really know what is going to happen. It is a super, super tough course, but it is tough for everybody. I like that challenge.”
Whatever the outcome for the team, spotting them in both the peloton and breakaway groups shouldn’t be too difficult.
For more information visit efprocycling.com
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