Yet Another Definitive Kit Ranking
Here I sit, at the time of writing, a few weeks away from the start of the 2021 WorldTour season, with excitement bubbling away. Part of the excitement of a new year and a fresh start is seeing the new kits on display, whether it be another outstanding pink offering for EF Education First (Pro Cycling? Nippo? It can be hard to keep up...) or eternal disappoints of certain teams remaining rather stubborn. Admittedly, kit ranking lists are as commonplace on the internet as disc brakes are in the peloton. Well you are in for a treat, because I present to you.... yet another 'definitive' ranking of the 2021 WorldTour kits! You can't blame me for wanting to join the party.
Here we begin, working from the worst of the 2021 kits, all the way to the most beautiful in this year's field.
19. Team BikeExchange
© Team BikeExchange
I am sorry, someone had to be last. Whilst there are no real shockers in this year's field, the recently rebranded Team BikeExchange have adopted a kit with too many random schemes going on. It is not that this kit is necessarily awful, but it doesn't do much to help itself. Whether it be the gaudy logos that fade down the jersey, or the random splices of Bianchi celeste, it is just not pretty on the eye. I can't help but feel that without the large block of black on the upper echelons of the jersey, it could have been a classy design. Mention must be made of Simon Yates continuing his trend of wearing incredibly ugly shades, his commitment to which must be applauded at this point!
18. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
© Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
A solid design that has been hampered by a disappointing colour way. In fact, a solid design that has been hampered by the yellow hue that adorns the kit, something that is a glaring attack on the eye. It was an exciting announcement when Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux stated Stycle Design was designing their new kit, having made a name for himself on social media by designing alternative kits for many of the WorldTour teams. But this kit is a disappointment as a result of the alarming yellow that is sprayed around the jersey. It is a shame, as the kit would work well without it.
17. Movistar Team
© Movistar Team
First things first, I must make note of how brilliant the photograph above is... Alas, this can not sway the judgement which has found this Movistar kit wanting! As a long-term admirer of Movistar's kit from 2013 onwards, with the elegant mix of deep blue and green Movistar logo, I was gutted when they switched to the light blue option a couple of years ago. The original light blue redesign has slowly been tinkered into what we see the evergreen Valverde wearing above, with its bland and unimaginative design by Alé. It is the cycling equivalent of Adidas releasing football kits that are the same as their standard training wear, but with the club's logo on it. As you can tell, it certainly has not impressed me and I hope they develop a more unique design next year. The light blue palette is classy and stands out in the peloton, but the design needs a rethink.
16. Bahrain Victorious
© Bahrain Victorious
And so it is, Bahrain Victorious are not victorious in my kit rankings (oh this joke is going to take a while to get old). After last year's tremendous Le Col design which emphasised the traditional colours of McLaren, it is no surprise that this year's redesign comes as a disappointment. With the departing British quartet (Le Col, McLaren, Mark Cavendish and Rod Ellingworth), this new Bahrain team looks a completely new outfit. Whilst it will be interesting to see how the team performs with Mikel Landa and Woet Poels in particular this season, it will certainly not be a joy to watch this unusual kit in the peloton. The main red of the jersey is not bad, the light blue sleeves are a nice rollover from last year, but the black at the bottom of the jersey looks completely out of place and ruins what could have been a solid design. After last year's stunning and surprising offer, it is a shame to see how the mighty have fallen.
15. Team DSM
© Team DSM
At first I hated the new Team DSM kit, but it has grown on me. That explains its rather fortunate rise up by ranking in the last two weeks; however, this has not done enough to paper over the crack which is the logo of Dutch State Mines (DSM). On the face of it, this kit is classy, if not spectacular, and it is pleasing to see the former Team Sunweb retain their 'Keep Challenging' stripes. But the lurid mediocrity of DSM's logo drags the look of this kit into the broom wagon. A nicely put together kit, but I just can't get my head around the logo that plays centre stage on their 2021 kit.
I believe Cofidis have retained the same kit for another year, which is not a bad thing. This kit is classic Cofidis and to move away from it would feel incredibly wrong. There is not much to say, apart from praising a solid design that should last for years to come. Here's hoping we can finally see Elia Viviani cross the finishing line first in Cofidis lycra this season.
13. Lotto Soudal
© Lotto Soudal
Another team retaining their kit for another season is Lotto Soudal, something I am not displeased with. As a quintessential Belgium team, focused on the one-days and stage victories, there is satisfaction to be had from their minimalist, yet classy design, which harkens back to bygone days of traditional European teams. After featuring for a couple of seasons now, the red, white and black design is immediately recognisable as Lotto Soudal, with most publicity of the kit coming from the explosive Aussie, Caleb Ewan.
12. Astana-Premier Tech
© Astana Premier-Tech
After the ageing of their previous design, it comes as a welcome surprise to see a fresh approach from the former Astana Team in 2021, no doubt influenced by the rebranding as Astana-Premier Tech. With a classy fade to the traditional blue of Astana Team, there is certainly nothing wrong with this kit.
11. Jumbo Visma
© Jumbo Visma
I really liked last year's kit from Jumbo Visma, it stood out from the crowd and made a lasting impression on the front of the peloton. I can't help but feel they've lost some of that magic with this new offering, with increased areas of black on the jersey and large black pockets lining the back. Add in a honeycomb design which I am not a real fan of, and you have a kit that has regressed, I'm afraid. Still, it could be worse.
10. Israel Start-Up Nation
© Israel Start-Up Nation
With four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome joining the ranks, alongside Mike Woods and Sep Vanmarcke, it is no surprise to see a fresh start for ISN on the kit-front. It is a welcomed change; their old design wasn't bad but this new effort is brilliantly classy. With a simple white/midnight blue colour way, separated by a strip of light blue, it makes for a nice looking kit. Gone are the colourful letters on the bib shorts, that I was controversially a fan of. All in all, this is a neat design from the team, albeit slightly unimaginative. But not all kits can be created by Palace and ISN can be pleased to find themselves situated just inside our top 10.
Harkening back to their Tour de France offerings, the new Bora-Hansgrohe kit prioritises white as the main colour, which provides a much cleaner and easier on the eyes design than their previous black reliance. With the mint green and black chevrons, this is a well-thought out jersey and has been a solid kit for years. It was always weird them being allowed/choosing to change their jersey for the Tour de France, so hopefully we will see this kit at all their races this season, it is certainly nice enough.
Whilst seemingly unchanged to the untrained eye, this jersey is actually a big improvement over last year's offering. The design has been simplified, with the solid white shoulders instead of last year's alternating red and blue affair. Moreover, replacing the lines of colour coming from the edge of the jersey, is the new Christmas tree design, that's the best way to describe it! All in all this is a superb kit and we hope to see Pinot dancing on the mountains of Italy displaying it in all its glory. Massive credit must go to Groupama-FDJ also for their national champions jerseys, which are always fantastic, just look at that beautiful jersey adorned by Arnaud Démare... wow. About Stefan Küng's kit though, Little Britain anyone?
7. UAE Team Emirates
© UAE Team Emirates
Another jersey with white being the main colour is this redesigned effort from UAE Team Emirates, red sweat patches already included, how kind of them! Despite the odd red patches underneath the arms, this redesign has paid off, with hint of yellow underneath the sponsors' logos, no doubt a nod to Tadej Pogâcar victory on the Tour last season. The sleeves take a bang average kit to a top 10 offering, though the less said about their national champions jerseys the better...
Keeping the same kit for a second season, this design is classy, truly classy. In a minimalist design, Trek still stand out from the pack with their now distinctive white and red front. With the addition of the navy blue sleeves in 2020, it turned a mediocre jersey into a truly great design. Some may say it is a tad conservative, but I say not every team has to have a wild jersey. Well done to Trek on keeping a neat design and hopefully we will see Mads Pedersen enjoy success with his rainbow sleeves this season.
5. Ineos Grenadiers
© Ineos Grenadiers
Another team keeping the same kit for another season, no surprise given their mid-season change last year. With the redesign and rename to 'Ineos Grenadiers' (British team, French factories...), they announced a lovely new kit design that has a tremendous navy blue hue. Combining the Grenadier chevron on the front of the jersey, with the old school Sky line down the back, this is a mix of old and new. Ineos are a team that don't always change kits every season and I'd personally like this kit to remain into the 2022 season, it's a great design.
© Wout Beel
I must admit, when I first saw this kit announcement I was incredibly disappointed. My disparaging tweet is still out there on the internet, but my mind has been well and truly changed! Despite loving last year's blue and white offering, this is a significant improvement and presents a much cleaner look. By flipping the classic Deceuninck blue to the top half of the jersey, with a dark navy hue adorning the bottom half, it is both a simplistic design and one that avoids being boredom. The cherry on the cake is the wolf hair design added to the top of the jersey, signifying their nickname as being 'the Wolfpack', though I don't think I have ever heard anybody refer to them as such, apart from those people employed by the team... All in all, this is a tremendous looking jersey and the casquettes are pretty damn neat as well. Chapeau.
3. Team Qhubeka Assos
© Team Qhubeka Assos
A welcome redesign that is simply marvellous. With a unique design that incorporates the black and white, with old school green of Qhubeka and their hand logo, this announcement was warmly welcomed by the cycling community. It is a delight to see Qhubeka back as their lead title sponsor and we are all relieved they were able to save the team. Despite having the smallest budget on the WorldTour, I have a sneaky feeling Doug Ryder and his team will cause some upsets this year...
2. AG2R Citroën Team
© AG2R Citroën Team
The marmite kit of 2021... before I go onto praise the design, yes, yes it does look like a Pritt Stick glue stick. Half of the cycling community hates it, half love it, I count myself in the latter. With a minimalist jersey alongside the least-minimalist sponsors' logo, it certainly turns heads, which is exactly the job of a cycling jersey. It is such a bold design, something we haven't really seen before and for that I applaud them. For being so different than the mainstream layout, they have struck gold and I am for one am delighted they retained the controversial brown bib shorts from their previous incarnation. They are immediately recognisable as AG2R, job done. Commentators will stand by me in applause of this design and I'm sure it will be a good seller in France. Whilst I really liked the old AG2R designs, it is a pleasure to see them break from the crowd with this attempt, a truly blockbuster kit.
1. EF Education-Nipp0
© EF Education-Nippo
And so they come, taking the best kit in the peloton for the third year running are EF Education-Nippo, with another stellar pink design. On the surface this latest release is slightly more toned down than their previous two iterations, with the pink being the prominent colour covering all of the jersey. It will still stand out from the crowd, being the only pink kit in the peloton, but the only change away from removing the splashes of purple appears to be changing the logos to the dark navy colour, from previously being white. A solid jersey, but an inquisitively toned down number from their previous years. But all is not as it seems...
© EF Education-Nippo
Once you look closer at the jersey you will see curious artist remarks emblazoned across it, as though they forgot to remove the sketch design that includes measurements and alike. However, obviously this is not an oversight by Rapha and instead serves as part of the marketing for this jersey. You see, for the past two years EF x Rapha have disrupted the norm in cycling, with a blockbuster pink selection, including a tie dye design, and an alternative approach to racing. The ante was upped further last season when they realised their Rapha x Palace kit that took everyone by surprise. With its giant duck featured and bonkers design, the jersey took the cycling and fashion world by storm. It even took the cycling authoritative bodies by storm and resulted in a fine for non-conformity at the Giro d'Italia. In response this year's kit is a massive tongue-in-cheek approach, with a basic jersey design of the block pink colour, whilst exemplifying that the jersey conforms to regulations by emblazoning the jersey with the artist's sketch measurements and alike. It is a massive middle finger to the status quo and exemplifies their non-conformist attitude to cycling that is a breath of fresh air. Once more Rapha have designed the best jersey in the peloton and one that truly sums up the identity of their team. Chapeau.