Right, we might as well get right into this, mightn't we? The WorldTour teams have all come out with their new kits – all except Groupama–FDJ, who got a sound thrashing last year in this very piece and have, presumably, learned their lesson – so it's high time for my favourite blog post of the year.
Here, I review the kits of the 2018 WorldTour.
Atrocious Human Rights Abuses Team Emirates
Thundering into the new year high on confidence off the back of some Very Expensive New Signings, the team of designers behind the 2018 strip decided they could sit back, rest easy and just phone it in. As far as I can see, no changes were made from 2017. It still bears the national flag of the United Arab Emirates and all the truly horrible associations it brings with it. Let’s not even go there on the whole ‘Fabio Aru’s Italian national champion’s kit’ farrago.
Kristoff’s Euro-champ’s jersey is nice, but that’s probably because the way it looks is mandated by someone other than the creative director of whichever feckless Abu Dhabi design studio released this tsunami of mundanity on the world.
Put Tommy McWindmills in anything and I’m sold, even a Newcastle United football shirt with a big red S stamped on the back.
By the way, apropos of nothing, have you seen this facemash of some of the peloton’s most famous faces? *bites lip*
Team Dimension Data
Marketers in cycling have been using the magic formula of ‘put Cav in it and we’ll sell bucketloads’ for a decade now and the Magic of Mark© shows no signs of weakening, even if the man himself’s sprinting abilities definitely have done in recent years.
It is impossible to tell if this kit is nice or not, because I can’t see past the gorgeous gristly man-nugget around which it has been wrapped.
EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale
In October I said this kit was the best thing to happen to the WorldTour since Thomas DeGendt escaped from that military research facility. I HAVE NOT CHANGED MY OPINION.
This kit is a travesty against man and God and nature. It is the worst kit I’ve seen Nairo Quintana wear since Nairo Quintana wore the Bollock Suit about seven months ago.
If you take one message from this article it’s ‘please stop dressing Nairo like a testicle’.
Team Katusha – Alpecin
It’s Red! It’s White! It’s not completely shite!
Well done Katusha – Alpecin, I look forward to spending all year being surprised that Nathan Haas now rides for you. Next!
Word on the street is Rapha couldn’t run far or fast enough away from Team Sky when their deal to make the British team’s kits came to an end in 2016. Given the staggeringly terrible year Dave Brailsford’s organisation has had on the PR side, you wouldn’t blame the clothing brand for jumping ship just as soon as they could.
As you can see, the 2018 kit is whiter than white – something the team itself long-since gave up claiming to be – and it has some dots and dashes on. The tinfoil casquette brigade will tell you that these markings actually spell out a frank admission of guilt over the TUE / Salbutamol fiasco written in an obscure variant of Morse code. It’s the only admission we’re going to get, so I’d be inclined to take it.
Top bantz from the Lotto Soudal crew with this photoshoot inside a barbers for the launch of their new kit. Rumour has it they originally asked Thomas DeGendt to cut Puck Moonen’s hair instead of Nikolas Maes, but when they let him out of his sleep pod Tommy ate the scissors, formed a breakaway with three of the shop’s patrons and was last seen wearing one of the cutting gowns as a cape as he rode off into the distance. Nice kit though, and I will fight anyone who says they don’t like the bubbles on the back.
I’m sorry, I just cannot get excited about the addition of a blue collar to what was quite a dull kit already. Dismal.
Also, why is Richie Porte’s neck so long? Is this pro cycling, or seminal 80s kids film, The Land Before Time?
How do you make a good kit even better? You don’t. At least not in Australia you don’t. What you do instead is get a new sponsor and change all the colours and make things as absolutely, earth-shatteringly boring as possible. It is a crime to make a Yates wear such dreadful garms. I hate that bike too, while we’re at it.
Bumblebees, assemble! Loved this kit last year – flying in the face of popular opinion, I might add – and I think the Dutchies have gone one better this season.
Trek-Segafredo without Alberto Contador reminds me of Emma Thompson’s line in Love Actually (which I watched five times this Christmas), in which she asks her unfaithful husband, “would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse?”
This kit, like the peloton sans pistolero, is just that little bit worse than last year. Red, basically. It’s red. With white logos.
Blue again. Whopping great Lidl logo on the sleeves. Honestly, without Boonen who even cares anymore?
I will say this for Quick-Step’s design crew – they know how to do a nat champ’s jersey right, and if Bob Jungels ever relinquishes his hold on the Luxembourg title, I do not envy the creative team that has to follow it.
“The kit’s horrible again this year, what shall we do?”
“Just shoot it in a really dingy room and hope nobody notices. Besides, have you seen that shite Movistar are riding in this year?”
“Yeah you’re right. Poor Nairo.”
The designers behind this season’s Ahhzhaydurzhair kit have an important lesson for us: If you are contractually obliged to include the title sponsor’s particular shade of poopy brown in a kit, do not shy away from that obligation. Non, embrace it! Splurge that squelchy hickory-mocha magnificence all over the place. Especially the shorts.
Hey, Astana, how’s about mixing things up a bit this year? No? Ok then.
Last year I said the ‘fade-to-black’ element on the strip made them look more evil. Cleverly, by repeating it for a second year, it now merely makes them seem dull. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT EVIL WANTS YOU TO THINK.
On the face of it, a nice kit, but someone forgot the first rule of design; ‘nothing that could possibly be construed as an arrow pointing towards the rider’s junk’.
Look at that jersey.
Now look at this gif from an iconic moment in the sublime 2008 movie, Step Brothers.
Now look back at the jersey.
Enjoy thinking about ‘chest pubes’ and ‘ball fro’ every time you see Daniel Oss for the next 12 months.