January marks the start of the professional road racing season with the Tour Down Under and the Tour de San Luis kicking off this week, which also means the unveiling of the peloton’s menagerie of team kits. From the pinstriped zoot suit uniforms of the newly formed Trek Factory Racing team to the electric pink of the Italian (surprise, surprise) Lampre-Merida team, we delve into the best and worst kits in the pro peloton.
I’ll start with my least favorite, or at least the easiest to poke fun at. The brothers Schleck along with Fabian Cancellara and the rest of the Trek Factory Racing team will be sporting an all black kit with white accents that looks like it was designed in about 10 minutes. When the designer was done, he/she was probably shocked at how boring the kit looked so a few pinstripes were thrown on for “texture.” And what’s up with that modesty panel on the front of shorts? The way the stitching and panels are placed actually does more to draw attention to the crotch region of the rider than it does to conceal it.
I’m actually a fan of simple kit designs and this one has the potential to be really cool. But it comes off as uninspired due to the lack of color.
Moving on, let’s take a look at another unimaginative kit that was designed with about as much passion as a doorknob. The Giant-Shimano team has some big name riders with German heartthrob Marcel Kittel and the newly signed Lawson Craddock. But the kit lacks the fervor and ferocity I like to see in a professional uniform.
Are there any colors that clash more than lime green, neon pink and navy blue? Well probably, but the Lampre-Merida kit is the antithesis of the Giant-Shimano kit in terms of offensive color palettes. I could actually go either way on this one. The colors are so distracting I’m almost a fan, but not quite, which is why I’m classifying this kit as mildly obnoxious.
Now that we’ve covered the bland and the bright, let’s move on to some kit designs that are somewhere in between. The Lotto-Bellisol team will be riding in a retro-inspired kit that is both distinct and classy. No conflicting colors or obnoxious designs here. The red will stand out in the peloton and the sponsor’s name is displayed clearly on the chest thanks to the white background. I could see this kit having a polarizing effect, but it’s my favorite of 2014.
Top marks also go to Omega Pharma Quick Step and Garmin Sharp. While neither kit is a huge departure from last year’s designs, both are welcomed updates.
Different colors and designs resonate with different people so I won’t be offended if you want to tell me I’m wrong. Just leave a comment in the box below.