After unveiling a radical new jersey on the eve of the Giro d’Italia in 2020, the EF-Education Nippo team are set to repeat the trick once more with a kit to be revealed on the eve of the 2021 race and worn by their eight-rider roster.
The new kit will be shown off at the teams’ presentation on Thursday, two days before the individual time trial in Turin, with Hugh Carthy among those set to wear new colours.
The team cannot race in pink because it clashes with the race leader's maglia rosa. For the same reason Jumbo-Visma will have a black and yellow kit for the Tour de France decorated with fans' names.
In 2020 the EF team unveiled a partnership with Palace Skateboards, with the team’s riders wearing a radical and stand-out new jersey, decorated with cartoon ducks,
during the final Grand Tour of the rescheduled season.
They kit sparked massive social media debate and so visibility for the team and the riders backed up the buzz with Jonathan Caicedo winning a stage and Ruben Guerreiro winning the mountains competition.
This time around the team will not be announcing a Palace-style partnership. Instead, Rapha has designed a new kit that draws sartorial attention to EF’s message of bringing people together through education.
Team manager Jonathan Vaughters was unwilling to give too much away when talking to Cyclingnews late on Tuesday but the former rider did disclose that the trademark EF pink would be replaced by an even more colourful design.
“This year the design is a celebration of the multicultural nature of our team and it’s a nod and a celebration of the core model within EF, which is to bring cultures from around the world together through education,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
“It’s a very multinational and multicultural jersey that I think everyone will enjoy quite a bit. No ducks though, sorry,” he said.
Last year limited supply of the jersey saw sales of the Palace kit hit over £600 on eBay, and Vaughters expects another popular reaction this time around.
“Fans can expect something very colourful and very multinational and that’s about as much as I can tell you. It’s very different, extremely different from our normal pink jersey," he said.
"There’s no new sponsor or name change but the kit and the bikes have been changed out. The Palace kit was cool but I think this new one is a really beautiful kit. This new one appreciates the hardships of the last year or so and it’s a warm fuzzy feeling jersey that will try and bring people back together. There are a lot of colours. A lot of colours."
“It’s not a big blob of pink that can be seen from 20 miles away in a helicopter, and it might be a bit harder to read but up close it’s super cool. Personally, it’s my favourite EF jersey so far.”
The kit will only be used for the duration of the Giro d’Italia and the team will not alter their name ahead of the race. It’s unclear as yet as to whether the UCI has approved the kit, after the team were punished with a small fine from the governing body after they wore the kit without the UCI’s formal approval.
“It’s a big challenge. It’s a lot of work for our staff but we had a lot of fun with it last year so everyone is excited so it’s worth it.”
Vaughters would not be drawn on whether the team would be taking Cory Williams on board as a stagiaire in the second half of the year.
Cyclingnews understands that there have been loose discussions but that nothing has been formalized. Williams and his brother Justin formed and lead the L39ION of Los Angeles team in the United States with Cory (27) the youngest.
Cyclingnews understands that a move to EF as a stagiaire still has a number of hurdles to overcome, not least over bike sponsorship ties.
Israel Start-Up Nation are also set to ride the Giro d’Italia in another new kit but the team would not comment when approached by Cyclingnews.
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