Now that the musical chairs game of team rosters has ended and the pro teams have had a chance to get together during winter team camps, it's time for the big reveal of this season's kits and equipment.
While some kits receive little fanfare, Rapha's creations always create a buzz –no matter which team they're outfitting. With the EF Pro Cycling teams, especially, Rapha's been bold and, at times, pushing the limits of what cycling kit can or should look like. Remember the duck-themed kits?!
Rapha, in collaboration with EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education-Cannondale unveiled the 2024 team kits last week, adding yellow graphic elements to the title's sponsor's signature pink. Racing phrases like "TURN THE SCREW" and "UP UP UP" and an homage to the squad's favorite card game add a playful and personal touch. The jerseys are paired with black bibs and crisp white socks for a kit that again features plenty of panache.
"When you look good, you're already going fast. When you feel good, you're going even faster," Rapha says.
And one rider digging the feel-good vibes is Coryn Labecki, who was given a special edition kit in addition to the team issue.
Labecki (née Rivera) won the U.S. National Criterium Championships last season, granting her the right to wear a stars-and-stripes edition of the EF Pro Cycling kit in any criterium race until she's unseated.
In speaking with Cycling Weekly, Labecki rated the new kit an 11/10. With 73rd national titles to her name already (junior, collegiate and professional combined), Labecki could be considered a bit of an authority on the subject. The new kit, Labecki said, is the best she's had.
We can't argue with that. It's just a shame we won't be seeing much of the kit as the five-foot-nothing "Pocket Rocket" spends most of her season racing in Europe, where criteriums aren't as prevalent as they are stateside.
But the stars-and-stripes isn't the only national champion kit among the men's and women's EF Pro Cycling squads. There's Canadian national road racing champion and last year's Paris-Roubaix Femmes winner, Alison Jackson, rocking the bright red maple leaf jersey.
Giro d'Italia stage winner and Irish champion Ben Healy gets to sport a very clean and crisp take on the Irish shamrock. And, similar but different, Esteban Chaves and Richard Carapaz are sporting the yellow-blue-red tricolor of Colombia and Ecuador, respectively. While Carapaz's tricolor is full-width, Chaves' tricolor is centered on an overall white jersey.
These have got to be some of the best-looking national champion kits in the peloton. While these are hard-earned by their wearers, the team issue replica kit will be available for purchase from Rapha starting in February 2024.
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