2021 EF Education-Nippo kit unveiled: less controversy and more tongue in cheek

After being fined $4,000 for its ‘non-compliant’ kit at last year’s Giro d’Italia, US team EF Education-Nippo has unveiled its new Rapha kit for 2021, and it appears to be remarkably tame by comparison. This year sees the team returning to their signature Rapha pink threads, much to many fans’ relief or dismay, depending on where they stood on those duck-inspired multicoloured jerseys.

This doesn’t mean the team is turning its back on its mission to disrupt and make waves in the sport, however. The partnership between Rapha and Slipstream Sports has made breaking with convention part of its raison d’etre since its 2019 beginning. Which means 2021 will be no different, though the team is well aware of the shadow hanging over its kit choice from last Autumn.

With their tongues firmly lodged in their cheeks, Rapha’s designers have used the latest iteration of the jerseys to make a statement, albeit a subtle one. In a bid to escape the ‘rule-breakers’ label, the entire design concept centres around the rule-makers’ rules.

At first glance, the new pink and blue jersey and bib shorts may look much more conventional, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see the designers have quite literally shown their workings. Every sponsor logo and design aspect is framed by meticulous measurement markings, in a bid to demonstrate that everything should be above board this time around.

Of course, these finer details will go largely unnoticed from the helicopter shots, but it’s a playful nod to the design team’s creative approach to what the sport deems to be ‘compliant’, and rings of a mischievous “there, are you happy now?”.

But how does it measure up to the best 2021 WorldTour team kits? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Mildred Locke

Mildred joined as Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect in December 2020. She loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike, and does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors.

Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall. 

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike