Team Sunweb have unveiled the special jersey to be worn by the new Dutch national road race champion Ramon Sinkeldam at the Tour de France, but are already facing a barage of criticism over the design.
The Dutch-registered team have opted to position the Dutch flag on the front of an otherwise unchanged standard team-issue black and white Sunweb jersey, rather than a traditional full jersey made up of the red, white and blue.
2016 winner Dylan Groenewegen wore a full national champion's jersey design over the course of the past 12 months, and full jerseys are very much the norm, despite a few notable exceptions. Astana were criticised in 2014 for only giving Vincenzo Nibali a small Italian tricolore on the front of the sky-blue jersey. New Italian champion Fabio Aru is expected to reveal a more traditional tricolore jersey at the Tour de France after previous criticism of Astana's dominantly sky blue design.
"Cycling is a team sport and we want to convey that," a spokesman for Sunweb told NUsport, justifying the more corporate design.
However, the team gave their own Tom Dumoulin a full red, white, and blue skinsuit for his time as Dutch time trial champion over the past 12 months. Dumoulin regained that title last week, and it remains to be seen whether Sunweb stick with that design, or whether they follow the rationale set for SInkeldam.
"I was always proud to ride with the red-white-blue, especially because Netherlands is a big traditional cycling country," Quick-Step's Niki Terpstra, the 2014 champion, told De Telegraaf. "It is a tricolore with a great significance."
Dutch cyclo-cross rider Lars van der Haar also took to Twitter to voice his dismay at the design. However former teammate John Degenkolb called for people to be happy for Sinkeldam rather than complain about his jersey design.
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