The new season is upon us, and with that comes the annual helping of wildly subjective opinions about the all-important and not-at-all superficial issue of team kits.
Rather than remaining above the fray, here at Cyclingnews we're wading knee deep into the debate. Each of our staff members has graded all the WorldTour kits, and we've aggregated the scores to produce what we're not-so-confidently calling a 'definitive' Cyclingnews ranking.
The ranking runs from 25 (worst) to 1 (best). It comprises all kits from men's and women's WorldTour teams - there are 28 teams in total, but three share kits for their men's and women's squads.
Consensus was hard to come by - even our lowest-ranked kit snuck into someone's top five - and we're sure our readers will have their own passionate views, so have your say in the comments section below.
The Belgian team, who have grabbed the old CCC Team's licence, enter the WorldTour with a kit that remains true to their old colours of blue, white, and neon green. One of us loved it, the rest of us hated it, so the newcomers sit rock bottom.
- I like it: Gotta love the attempt at motorsports branding here with 'sponsor soup'. Who cares if it is a jumble of company names; it's easy to spot in the peloton! (JT)
- I don't: Looks like a ProConti kit in a WorldTour league. (DB)
A radical departure for the Australian team formerly known as Mitchelton-Scott, with Bianchi turquoise replacing the brighter green/yellow flashes of previous years. It's predominantly white and black - definitely not the pink of Manuel Fundación.
- I like it: The Australian team have integrated the Bianchi celeste pretty well but overall the kit lacks flair. (SF)
- I don't: Black and white is an extremely boring colour scheme, and this just has that corporate look about it, too. (DO)
Blue has been a staple of the long-running Belgian team, and their 2021 design sees them go for a darker shade that's paired with navy instead of white. The chest comes with detailing that's meant to resemble a wolf's fur - a nod to the team's 'Wolfpack' nickname.
- I like it: A mid-tier kit for me, but with the double blue colours and the wolf hairs they look to have made more effort than most in the peloton. (DO)
- I don't: The Wolfpack thing already went too far when their riders started howling at dinner tables, but wolf hairs on the jersey? Makes my human skin crawl. (PF)
This one was bound to get people talking, and perhaps was designed so. As if it didn't stand out enough last year, the fluorescent yellow and red is made even more dazzling by the pattern on the front and rear.
- I like it: The kaleidescope of red and yellow fluorescent colours in a blurry diamond pattern is mesmerizing, to the point of standing out quite well in the women's peloton. Who knows, maybe it will cause such a distraction to provide an edge in a sprint finish. (JT)
- I don't: This jersey takes high-vis to a whole other level. You’ll need your sunglasses to look at it. (KF)
21: Team DSM
One that will take time for adjustment. The twin stripes are still there but this is a big shift from the black-and-white and red-and-white that used to characterise the team formerly known as Sunweb.
- I like it: High marks for distinct design with vertical blue stripes and colorful icon. The DSM logo looks like the shutter of a camera - could this be a way to illustrate speed? It certainly illustrates that the title sponsor, DSM, is headed in a new direction, moving from 'Dutch State Mines' to innovation with fabrics and sustainable living. (JT)
- I don't: Looking past the Team Sky vibes, I'm only getting IT software vibes. More specifically, my brain is wishfully reading 'MSN Messenger'. I get lost in the fading memories of post-school teenaged evenings - the stupid screen-names, the break-ups, the drama, even the glorious sound of the new message notification - but then I look up and this jersey still reads 'DSM', is still dull as dishwater, and all the kids are now singing sea shanties on TikTok. (PF)
20: Lotto Soudal
No change here for the Belgian team, who have men's and women's squads. The jersey will still change depending on where the team are racing - with Lotto sometimes above Soudal and vice versa - but it's the same red-black-white design.
- I like it: Not as striking as the red and white of the André Greipel era, but one of the peloton’s more stylish efforts. (BR)
- I don't: Red, white and black was the most popular colour palette 10 years ago, but the same jersey year in and year out is starting to wane on us. It's professional looking but there was more creativity in the jersey from 1985. (KF)
No change for the French team in their second WorldTour campaign, with a simple red-and-white colour scheme that has been around for nearly a quarter of a century.
- I like it: Elegant and stands out in the peloton. (BR)
- I don't: Everyone goes on about AG2R's brown shorts but to me these red ones are 10 times more offensive. (PF)
It's all familiar enough from the UAE team, but the sleeves go back to black, with radiating red.
- I like it: The team are improving year on year and so is the kit. The gold touches add something extra, just like Marc Hirschi enriches their roster. (SF)
- I don't: A basic 'billboard' style jersey with not much invention about it, plus it has UAE scrawled across the top, so ethically not very nice either. (DO)
A significant overhaul for the team's second season in the WorldTour, when this kit will be worn by the likes of Chris Froome and Michael Woods. The white and sky blue jersey of last year has been replaced by a simpler two-section combination of white and navy.
- I like it: After last year's inoffensive but forgettable design, this is a kit to match the intent shown with the new signings. It's not much fun, but it's smart, classy, and that blue line separating the navy from the white just sets the whole thing off. (PF)
I don't: The Israel Start-Up Nation roster has improved massively for 2021, sadly the kit has not. (SF)
No change for the Spanish team in their second year with Alé, as they stick with an uncluttered sky blue jersey with just their title sponsor's logo on the front.
- I like it: Simple and clean. The large Movistar 'M' is easy to spot in the peloton, so big marks for branding. (JT)
- I don't: Full praise to a sponsor as committed to financially backing a professional cycling team as Movistar but the giant logo has always puzzled me. Is it an 'M', is it an inchworm, is it doodle art? It reminds me of drawing in bubble letters when I was a kid. (KF)
The last to reveal their kit, Jonathan Vaughters’ team had their tongues firmly in cheeks when coming up with this. Playing off the controversy generated by their duck-themed Palace collaboration at last year’s Giro d’Italia, they’ve gone out to create "the world’s most compliant kit", with designer’s workings showing everything being put in the right place. The annotations can only be seen close up, so from afar we see a jersey that retains the EF pink but does away with the psychedelic touches of previous years.
- I like it: EF-Education Nippo turned up fashionably late to the party but their new design was worth the wait. They’ve retained much of their 2020 look and have kept their patterns and design in check, despite the numerous new sponsors now on show. The subtle markings on the chest add some genuinely wonderful details to a kit that’s fast becoming iconic. The pink look also leaves them open to coming up with something entirely different when the Giro comes around. (DB)
- I don't: It’s just plain boring, and looks like the Giro leader’s jersey. (LW)
14: Ineos Grenadiers
No change for the British team after they launched a new design to go with a new team name ahead of last year’s Tour de France. The original crimson Ineos colours were replaced by a navy jersey with the logo of the Grenadier - the new 4x4 being promoted by the company - in red.
- I like it: Whatever you think of the British super-team, the dark blue and red Grenadier A logo is subtle and classy (SF)
- I don't: It's hard to see much evidence of a design here, but hey, at least it's not plain black or white. (DO)