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.
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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.
Mildred is a Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews who enjoys everything from road cycling to mountain biking, but is a utilitarian cyclist at heart. Determined to do everything on two wheels, she's even moved house by bike, and can regularly be found pedalling around Bristol and its surrounding areas. She’s spent over four years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise comes from previously working in a bike shop and learning the ins and outs of the industry, and she's previously written for a variety of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, her ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch, followed by a gourmet campfire meal and an overnight bivvy beneath the stars.
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