After the graphic based version of “peloton fashions”, I went and made a version with actual photos in it. It doesn’t include Bora, Domina Vacanze or Bahrain Merida (yet), but otherwise, it should, hopefully, be accurate.
Enjoy! You’ll probably need to open the image in a new tab to, er, see it in all glory.
Cycling being cycling, there have been various “alternative” kits through the years, some celebratory, some because of sponsor changes, some just to try and flog a different product for a while. Some of these categories are overlapping, so don’t get too picky.
Tour de France Celebration kits
First started by US Postal, the practice of making a section of your jersey yellow to allow team mates celebrate victory at the Tour has been used by Rapha to celebrate each of Chris Froome’s three wins. Other teams have usually just gone for yellow handlebar tape, and maybe some yellow glasses.
Discovery Channel 2005
The Blue Train celebrated their 7th win with a yellow sleeve and seven stars above the Discovery logo.
Team Sky 2015
The signature Rapha bands changed from blue to yellow for Froome’s second triumph, as did the helmets and glasses…
Team Sky 2016
Rapha wheeled out the “IV” range for Sky’s fourth Tour win in five years, with the blue element again becoming yellow, except this time they looked like bees.
Tour de France special jerseys
Essentially a Castelli phenomenon, but also practised by HTC for a couple of years, this involves changing your jersey’s design for the Tour de France. Rationales in the past have included “our previous black jersey will be too hot in the sun”, but we all know its an excuse to get some publicity and flog a new jersey.
Changing from Black and red to monochrome was a cool look for the all-conquering Cervelo team. Technically they did keep they all white version till the end of the year, but they were the first to do the whole “Tour special edition” thing so lets ignore it for now…
The team repeated the trick the next year, with a kit so gorgeous I bought it and wore it to a rag…
HTC added a subtle French flag graphic to their jersey, which got plenty of airing with Cavendish’s 5 stage wins.
The spiritual successor to Cervelo once they merged with Garmin, the kits were a bit naff once Jonathan Vaughters insisted on Argyle and, well, making them really dull.
Another entry from HTC, who this time, as well as adding a slightly reduced Tricolore graphic, emboldened the size of the stripes on their jersey. Previously confined to one side of the zip, they expanded to become broader and more obvious.
Having had a poor first few months, Cannondale went for a new kit, new start approach. It took them a month to win another race…
Giro d’Italia Special jerseys
Much less common than Tour editions, the Giro has still managed to get itself a few special edition jerseys – perhaps there will be more in 2017, with the 100th edition of the race.
Not an obvious change, but LPR added “Forza Abruzzo” on their flanks to help raise money for victims of the L’Aquila earthquake ealier that month, in the region of Abruzzo. Danilo Di Luca probably wasn’t the best representative in hindsight…
Columbia HTC 2009
Columbia managed, from the start of 2008 till their demise in 2011, to wear ten different kits in three years by my count of which this 100th anniversary Giro edition was the 5th. Rosa cuffs with an Italian tricolore gave the white and yellow a dash of colour, and took six wins.
Bardiani-Valvole CSF 2014
Bardiani decided to celebrate their participation in the 2014 Giro by adding pink cuffs to their jersey. Er…ok.
Mid-season change of Sponsor kits
Adding a new sponsor is a perennial feature of a cycling team, and it doesn’t always happen in the off season. Here are the teams in the period (2005-2017) that have managed such a feat, and as such changed kits to reflect this.
Liberty Seguros-Wurth to Astana 2006
When Operacion Puerto broke, implicating Manolo Saiz and various riders on Liberty Seguros, the main sponsor decided to walk, leaving the team with some blank panels for a while. Eventually, Alexandre Vinokourov’s Kazakh consortium took over and insitgated the pale blue that provails to today.
Team HighRoad to Team Columbia 2008
Having lost T-Mobile at the end of 2007, but kept their money, HighRoad, the management company, did so well with their phalanxes of young riders that they got sportswear company Columbia onboard to pay the bills. The American company were amply rewarded, with four wins for Mark Cavendish and one for Marcus Burghardt at the Tour de France.
CSC to CSC SaxoBank 2008
CSC had quite a cool kit in 2008, but the company rebranded their logo, and then brought in SaxoBank as a co-sponsor. Some logos were shifted rather than a massive redesign, and they got a great first outing, winning the Alpe d’Huez stage, plus the overall with Carlos Sastre.
Slipstream to Garmin-Slipstream 2009
Jonathan Vaughters’ band of clean riders (including, er, Millar, Vande Velde, Danielson, Zabriske…) brought argyle to the peloton, won a Giro TTT and with it the pink jersey, then secured Garmin as a sponsor in time for the Tour de France. Still kept the argyle though.
GreenEDGE to Orica-GreenEdge 2012
When Australian mining company Orica appeared on the scene to sponsor GreenEDGE, they changed their kit twice – once at the Giro, and again at the Tour.
Garmin-Barracuda to Garmin-Sharp 2012
Garmin Barracuda won the Giro by 12 seconds with Ryder Hesjedal, but then Sharp appeared on the scene, so flashes of red were added to the team’s kit to reflect this, with Barracuda relegated down the jersey.
SaxoBank to SaxoBank-TinkoffBank 2012
Having gone all blue after years of white based kits, SaxoBank found themselves adding yellow to the equation, as Oleg Tinkov, having been forced out of his original Tinkoff setup when Igor Makarov turned up, returned to the cycling fold. It took them a year to drop the “Bank” from each name.
Team Blanco to Belkin 2013
The post Rabobank era didn’t immediately produce a sponsor for the team, so they called themselves Blanco, made a generic kit and hoped for the best. Some strong classic results later, as Sep Vamarke came second at Paris-Roubaix, and in came Belkin in time for the Tour de France.
Cannondale to Cannondale Drapac 2016
Not content with merging Cervelo and Garmin, Jonathan Vaughters absorbed another team, Aussie development team Drapac, into the mould, again in time for the Tour de France. They got some red flashes and their name on the jersey for their troubles.
Orica-GreenEDGE to Orica-BikeExChange 2016
In an attempt to confuse everyone even more in a peloton full of dark blue/black kits, Orica, who had had BikeExchange as a minor sponor (they’d previously featured on their arm), changed to all blue to compliment BikeExchange’s boost in position to title sponsor.
In the late noughties/early, er, tens, teams decided they would display their green credentials by changing bits of their kit to green. It helped to have a related sponsor/cause, as Discovery did in 2007, aided by having a massive globe on their kit, or Sky in 2011, whose “Rainforest Rescue” campaign put the WWF panda on their kit long before Garmin decided to poach the idea.
Discovery Channel 2007
Team Sky 2011
Sometimes, teams just want to change things about, by changing colour (perhaps before the Tour but keeping it on afterwards), or having a little bit of fun.
Team HighRoad 2008
Complaints over being the “Men in Black” despite marketing themselves as a clean team (apparently in some people’s heads, the colour of your jersey is relevant to your ethics…) following the break from T-Mobile led Highroad to change from black to white. They kept the comedy red and white logos though.
They say a golden rule of cycling jerseys is not to make it too obvious what your product is with your graphics, but Milram weren’t in the moo-d for that (Geddit!?!) and decided that for a stage of the Deutchsland Tour, they’d wear a bovine themed kit, given their sponsor was a German Dairy producer. In 2009 and 2010, they returned to the idea, albeit without, thankfully, the shorts.
Lance Armstong probably figured his final Tour would have ended on a higher note than 23rd overall, but it was not to be. Whilst he wheeled out a final black jersey (read into that with mournful hindsight) which featured a collage of all the nations represented by the team, as well as the number 28 on the back, to represent the 28 million people a year who die of cancer, ASO, finally feeling able to deal with Armstrong based shennanigans, made the team disrobe of it before the start. Lance, being Lance, put it back on for the photos on the Champs Elysees though.
FDJ changed their kit for the 2013 Tour de France from White to Blue, adding in some more red so that they reflected the French Tricolore at the Centenary edition. However, rather than revert back to white, they kept the blue on for another year.
Back when Omega Pharma was a sponsor, Lotto used to change their name each year to reflect a product that Omega sold, hence Davitamon, Silence and Predictor (Omega continued the trend when they moved to Quick Step, as we saw with Etixx.) Now, Lotto are pulling the trick, albeit only for their National Tour (Belgium) by promoting one of their Lotto games for a while with a kit that looked like melted jelly beans.
In 2016, it was Soudal’s turn – changing to a, er, grey jersey for Paris Nice to flog some sort of sealant. Wow. Crazy times.
Tinkoff had already managed “training kits”, which are slowly becoming cycling’s equivalent of pointless football “change kits” (I’m looking at you Sky and Trek), but before the team ceased to exist, they wore a kit that echoed the original 2006 number that Tinkov first made his team wear. Which is a bit awkward, as that team ended up becoming Katusha. Move along, nothing to see here…
Sometimes, your jersey can be a way of getting your point across, as Astana tried at the Centenary Giro.
Astana 2009, Giro d’Italia
In protest at unpaid wages (presumably Armstrong was doing so for his teammates, as he was not meant to be taking a salary), Astana riders at the Giro faded out the names of sponsors who hadn’t paid their chunk of the sponsorship, hence why certain logos remained, namely Trek. They were still faded by the time the race culminated in Rome.
Finally, some jersey’s never even get used. Bjarne Riis announced IT Factory as a co-sponsor of the SaxoBank team in late 2008 for the 2009 season. However, Stein Bagger, the IT Factory CEO, disappeared on a trip to Dubai, was sought by Interpol for a 500million Kroner fraud, and the company collapsed in Bankrupcy. It was a naff jersey anyway.