With the Tour de France finished for another year, let's have a look at how this year's teams stacked up in the fashion department.
BMC Racing1 of 23
It's taken me a long time to get used to the big red LEGO blocks, but BMC probably has one of the most consistent and unique jerseys in the peloton. The massive Tag Heuer flags on the sleeves are a new addition this year that certainly command some attention. I guess the sponsor wanted to make sure its logo was visible from the press helicopter—or maybe the space station.
Bora Hansgrohe2 of 23
I hate to say it, but Bora is a little boring. Clean, sure—but it feels a little like a generic club jersey from the Cycling Mart at the local mall. The massive "look at my junk" arrow seems to be a favourite motif on cycling jerseys, one that is hardly necessary given the tightness of our shorts.
Team Sky3 of 23
Sky has always done an admirable job with its kit design; it's clean, simple and very, very black. Given some of the negative media hounding the team, maybe they decided to try and sway public opinion with a move from 'Bad Guy Black' to 'Good Guy White' and save some whales for good measure. I don't know if it's working, but I did enjoy watching that little school of orcas swimming through the peloton in the aerial shots.
Quick-Step Floors4 of 23
This one falls into the 'boring as dry toast' category. I can forgive a kit that tries a bit too hard, but it's hard to applaud one that refuses to even get out of bed. Maybe Quick-Step blew its design budget on a new team bus, and the team manager just put the jersey together in Microsoft Word. Yawn.
Lotto Soudal5 of 23
On first glance, this design is rather restrained. The bowed edge across the chest certainly saves this design from being entirely boring—but wait! Flip this puppy over and you get big fun-colored bubbles! This is the mullet of jerseys: all business in the front and a party in the back.
Trek-Segafredo6 of 23
Trek's introduction of classic pinstripes into the peloton several years ago caused all sorts of commotion among cycling fans. Combined with an all-black kit, the team did look a bit like a bunch of skinny investment bankers frantically racing to a board meeting. Over time, more and more red has been added to the design to the point where no black remains at all. Kind of like Khloe Kardashian's change from brunette to blonde. The stripes, however, have remained a fixture.
LottoNL-Jumbo7 of 23
Nothing much to report here, as the kit design has remained mostly unchanged over the years. However, the team did announce the use of a new performance fabric "designed to cheat the air." I guess we'll see how long it takes for it to show up on the banned substances list. You may have noticed in the Tour de France the color scheme of the team is reversed to avoid confusion with the leader's jersey, the maillot jaune. Good on them for knowing that showing up at a party in the same outfit as the guest of honor would be oh so gauche.
Groupama-FDJ8 of 23
There is a lot going on here, but it's mostly good. The only thing that would make this kit more French would be a fleur de lis and red wine stains down the front. I love the diagonal lines picked up from the sponsor logo and repeated with typical French flair throughout the design. They stopped short of the "look at my junk" arrow, opting instead to cut the lines to flank the tummy. It's a good thing pro cyclists are so trim.
Dimension Data9 of 23
With 22 teams in the mix, it must be difficult to pick a color that makes your team stand out from the crowd. Somehow, the designers of this jersey managed to pick a color scheme that wasn't black, white or red. Of course, we can't give them all the credit since the title sponsor's brand is green, so it was kind of a no-brainer. Like Team Sky, Dimension Data proudly displays its charity—in this case Qhebeka, a South African organization that supplies bicycles to people and communities with limited transportation options. I think we can all agree bicycles make the world a better place.
Katusha-Alpecin10 of 23
The designers of this jersey did a good job working with the shape of the sponsor's primary logo. Typically, seeing a logo placed so large would make me break out in hives, but somehow this works. Similarly, the clashing reds seem to defy all laws of color theory and manage to create a unique and not altogether unpleasant look. Not bad for a company that makes men's hair-loss products. At least we'll never have to worry that Marcel Kittel will lose his signature coif.
Movistar11 of 23
Thanks to a recent rebrand by the Movistar telecommunications company, this team was finally able to lose the horrible green mucus smear that has dominated its kit for years. While I do admire the simplicity and pleasing new color, it is perilously close to Astana's. I guess they will just have to avoid each other in group pictures and pay extra attention when they play street hockey together.
Ag2r La Mondiale12 of 23
A 'logo repeat' is a common design tool used to create a graphic pattern from a company's primary logo or symbol. When used on corporate materials, it adds visual interest and texture while still reinforcing the brand. When applied to a cycling kit, at best it can look like a gaudy leisure suit or, at worst, skin-tight wrapping paper. I was happy to see Ag2r La Mondiale finally lose the logo repeat in favor of a more classic design. Now if they would only get rid of those awful brown shorts...
EF Education First-Drapac13 of 23
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the designers first presented this color scheme to the powers that be. "Seriously, the Europeans are going to LOVE it!" Whatever they said, it worked, and as a result this team is probably the most unique and visible of the bunch. And good visibility means happy sponsors. Add to that the subtle Cannondale argyle carryover on the sleeve cuffs, and I'm sold.
Astana14 of 23
Astana is the capital city of Kazakstan, and as such, what Team Astana may lack in creativity they make up for in sheer, unbridled national pride. Astana's kit has always reflected the national flag, which boasts "the most beautiful sun in the most blue sky in the world." Apparently Kazakstan hasn't quite clued into the fact that Earth only has one sun, and the sky's blueness has more to do with the physics of the atmosphere than political borders. Nevertheless, it is hard to fault the enthusiasm.
Bahrain Merida15 of 23
I know I'm not the only one who had to Google where Bahrain is. This tiny little kingdom in the Middle East may not be at the top of everyone's travel bucket list, but being from Winnipeg, I certainly won't be throwing any stones. Very little changed on this jersey from last year, but as the saying goes, if it ain't Bah-roke, don't fix it. This design stirs me in the most pleasant ways. Regal yet simple, if I had to wear a bike kit to the Oscars, this would be the one.
Fortuneo-Samsic16 of 23
I grew up watching commercials for Mr. Clean, so it stands to reason that when I see a buff dude in a tight white shirt, I just assume he's going to clean my house and everything in it. This design makes smart work of dealing with the hardest and least flattering non-color there is. The graduated black to grey bars across the midriff add some visual interest and make this jersey look like something you might actually be able to pull off while you mop your floors to a glowing shine.
Direct Energie17 of 23
There is something about the contrast of yellow and black that just works. You can't see it in this photo, but there are actually retractable bumblebee wings that spring out of the back when the rider needs that extra boost in the mountains. The designer used the yellow donut from the sponsor logo to great effect, creating a distinct and harmonious kit that could very easily have looked like a polka dot clown suit. I'm not usually a fan of using secondary sponsor logos in color, but somehow this jersey manages to pull it off.
Cofidis18 of 23
There are an unfortunate number of all-red jerseys in the bunch this year, and this one is the most unfortunate of them all. There's really nothing much to say about the overall design, but what really makes my eyes bleed is all the black. This is a big, big no-no in design—especially when, like this case, the outline is completely unnecessary. If you need to add outlines to type, logos or other graphic elements to make them 'pop,' you need to throw it in the garbage and start again.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert19 of 23
There were some significant changes to the Wanty-Group Gobet design this year, but I'm not entirely sure they are for the better. They are certainly embracing the '80s-pop-star look with a brighter blue and that neon green, which seems to be getting more prominent each year. I have no issues with the Wham colors, but the new striped bits on the chest mean I have to take another Benadryl for my outline allergy.
Team Sunweb20 of 23
Sometimes it can be hard to sell a design concept to a client. In the corporate world especially, a clear and logical rationale is the key to getting your concept approved all the way up the ladder. Admittedly, these rationales can sometimes be a bit of a stretch. Take Sunweb's elaborate rationale of the two stripes that run down the center of its jersey: "The left stripe represents the continuous development of the riders both as individuals and as athletes and the team as a whole. The right stripe represents the creation and continual enhancement of an elite sports environment." Seriously? Let's just say stripes are cool and be done with it.
Mitchelton-Scott21 of 23
With a new sponsor always comes change. And what a change it was for this team, who replaced long-time sponsor Orica, who makes explosives to Mitchelton, who makes some of Australia's finest wines. It's a little unfortunate they ran the zipper right down the middle of this elegant logo, but sometimes sacrifices must be made in the interest of symmetry. I really love this jersey, especially the subtle details added to the sleeves and lower torso—explosive yet oh so smooth and drinkable.
UAE-Team Emirates22 of 23
This team is only in its second year in the pro peloton, but with the likes of Dan Martin on the roster, you can be sure it will give the old guard a run for its money. Last year, as UAE Abu Dhabi the team's jersey featured a skyline (presumably Abu Dhabi) along the bottom edge. This year, it (thankfully) ditched the city in favor of a bigger, swoopier UAE flag. While this jersey is far from terrible, it could probably still take some style tips from its neighbours in Bahrain.