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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2012 Review of Pro Cycling Jerseys

Steven HainlenContributor IIJanuary 30, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2012 Review of Pro Cycling Jerseys

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    Each new season gives cycling teams a chance to rework their team kits, and gives all their fans a chance to spend another $90 on a team jersey.  The best jerseys go down in history with their riders, such as Armstrong with U.S. Postal or Merckx’s Molteni; whereas the worst jerseys will make even the most ardent fan cringe.  Fortunately for cycling fan’s eyes, Team Geox/Footon-Servetto is no longer in the business of making horrid team jerseys; however, that does not mean there are not still some truly unsightly jerseys.  From the worst to the best, here is a review of the 2012 UCI ProTour team jerseys.

Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

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    There is just way too much on this kit.  The double-company team name is both a mouth and jersey full (luckily no one will say the full name), and the plethora of minor sponsors do not make for a very clean jersey. 

    All of the previous comments would be somewhat acceptable if it were not for the combination of a dark blue, yellow and white jersey with a Bianchi green bike  The only colors that go with Bianchi green are white and Bianchi green!  Vacansoleil may have made improvements to its roster, but it sure took a step back in appearances.

     

    Ranking:  1 out of 10

Lotto Belisol Team

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    Diagonal and wavy text/corporate logos were popular with teams in the 1990s, and it seems like many teams, Lotto Belisol among them, have decided to resurrect this unsightly trend.  Hopefully the teams realize their error and these curvy jerseys go back to 1993. 

    The nonsensical designs and splattering of colors make this hard to look at.  However, the oversized Lotto on the right pant leg is cool, and other teams should consider adopting it in the future.

     

    Ranking:  3 out of 10

Omega Pharma-Quickstep

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    The color scheme is not the worst, but there is nothing imaginative about the jersey.  The expansion of the teal/light blue into the shorts is interesting, but all in all this jersey looks remarkably similar to past jerseys of Quick-Step with a hint of past Saxo Bank jerseys. 

    The team seemingly spent most of its time signing new riders instead of designing a stellar kit; luckily that decision will and already has paid off for it in 2012.

     

    Ranking:  3 out of 10

Radioshak-Nissan

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    Super team does not equal super jersey.  In 2012, the Radioshack and Leopard Trek teams merged into one incredible team, and it decided to model its jerseys off of the 2011 Leopard Trek team.  The black band across the top remains, as does the white space below the jersey.  But in place of the light blue band, each rider on the team has the flag of Luxembourg across his chest. 

    Both teams had interesting jerseys last year, especially Radioshack, but unfortunately, the jersey is a combination of both, instead of a new interesting look.

    Ranking:  4 out of 10

Astana Pro Team

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    Some things never change, and so long as Astana remains the capitol of Kazakhstan, Astana will sport a light blue and yellow jersey.  Nothing much changed in this jersey.  The use of yellow only as an accent color to frame the white arms and blue front and back is a positive change; however, printing anything, even the team name, in a light blue against a white background is going to be almost unreadable.

    Vino will have a few more good moments in the Astana jersey this year, but don't expect to see a lot of it in UCI ProTour events in 2012.

     

    Ranking:  5 out of 10

AG2R La Mondiale

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    AG2R’s team kit is not the best design, nor is it best color scheme in the world, but somehow it works.  The jersey fulfills the two most important jobs of a good team kit: 1) It prominently displays the team sponsor, and 2) it is distinct enough that viewers can easily recognize the team’s riders.  This jersey also perfectly fits with any realistic expectations from the team, solid but nothing amazing. 

    Personally, I will give bonus points to any team that makes its shorts anything other than a primary color, and the matching helmet works for AG2R in 2012.

    Ranking:  5 out of 10

Katusha Team

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    Katusha’s team kit will be fantastic so long as it contains the words “Russian Global Cycling Project,” and luckily this year continues that trend.  The all-red jersey is interesting, but it no longer has an outline of Moscow on it, which is sad. 

    Katusha did, however, minimize the patterns and effects on the jersey, so it no longer looks like an attempt at a 3D puzzle.  Denis Menchov should look a whole lot better in this jersey than the unfortunate Geox TMC jersey from last year that featured a dress shoe.

    Ranking:  6 out of 10

Rabobank Cycling Team

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    Rabobank is an oddity in cycling, the team has had the same sponsor since 1996, and because the sponsor has remained the same, the team jersey has largely remained the same.  The team proudly joins many other Dutch-sporting teams by wearing orange, the official color of the royal house of Holland. Any fan who has been to the Amstel Gold race or Dutch corner on Alpe d’Huez can confirm that the Dutch feverishly support their orange-clad national cycling icons.

    Fortunately for Rabobank, the success of its season will be remembered in victory salutes showing off the jersey rather than shots of the jersey in the breakaway, therefore we should all become familiar with the white type bordered by blue on the orange jersey, because it will be happening a lot in 2012.

    Ranking: 6 out of 10

Lampre - ISD

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    Lampre - ISD's jersey is one of the few that remains largely identical to its 2011 campaign.  On the plus side, no one should have any problems picking out a Lampre rider, especially if that rider is one of its big stars and is riding a neon green bike.

    Pink, blue and neon green may not make sense together to a fashion designer, but so long as Scarponi, Petacchi and Cunego keep winning, no one should really care.

    Ranking:  6 out of 10

Liquigas-Cannondale

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    Sometimes, if you hit people over the head enough with something, they will accept it...enter Liquigas and neon green.  When the team introduced its neon green color scheme, there were more than a few people who thought it was too loud. But after more than a few years of the Italian team sticking to its guns, the color has been accepted.

    It also helps that team victories make an OK jersey more acceptable, and Nibali, Basso, Oss and Sagan should deliver plenty of those for Liquigas in 2012.

     

    Ranking:  6 out of 10

GreenEdge Cycling Team

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    The first Australian ProTour team has paid homage to its country by adopting green and yellow(ish) for its jersey.  GreenEdge has spared no expense in making the team not only a top-notch team, but one that represents Australia in the process.

    The neon green is nothing new (Liquigas and Lampre) but the stark contrast with black and white makes the color stand out.  Expect to see a lot of this jersey, and I am 100 percent OK with that fact.

    Ranking:  7 out of 10

FDJ-Big Mat

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    FDJ always has one of the classiest jerseys in the pro peloton, and this year is no exception.  The addition of BigMat as a named sponsor means that the jersey is more cluttered than in years past. However, if it means seeing this jersey in all the ProTour races, it is a small price to pay. 

    The solid blue collar, arm and leg bands are a plus, as is the large BigMat on the backside of the shorts (and as a bonus, the backside of the shorts features a large logo for BigMat, which will provide plenty of jokes for the commentators on sprint stages until the final 25k).

    Ranking:  7 out of 10

Sky Procycling

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    Sky Procycling kept an incredibly similar jersey to its 2011 debut season.  The three white stripes on the sleeves of the jersey are a big plus, as are the extremely striking blue stripes across the middle of the jersey. 

    Much of the team's jersey is noticeable due to the abundance of black in the jersey, which makes me feel bad for all of these riders when the temperature starts to climb. However, apparently it didn't bother Wiggins and Froome in last year's Vuelta.  The most impressive portion of the team kit is the Pinarello bike.  Viewers should become quite familiar with Sky controlling the peloton with the leadout for Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Michael Rogers all getting significant amounts of TV time.

    Ranking:  8 out of 10

Movistar Team

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    Movistar and all of its prior incarnations have always had a nice kit.  The great color scheme combined with a good-looking logo makes Movistar one of the best jerseys in the peloton. 

    The team replaced the ladder-esque design on the side of the jerseys with a solid white strip in 2012.  The team keeps of little of the design from last year’s jersey on the right shoulder.  A great jersey that fans should see a lot of with the Alejandro Valverde coming back from his suspension.

    Ranking:  8 out of 10

BMC Racing Team

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    BMC has grown from a promising American Continental team to perhaps the best team in 2012.  It boasts three former world champions, last year's Tour de France winner and one of the most experienced road captains in the sport. If that is not enough, it also boasts the world's No. 1 rider from 2011, who put together one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory.  So why change a good thing?

    BMC's 2012 jersey continues the black and red trend.  It is simple, clean and elegant.

    Ranking:  9 out of 10

Garmin-Barracuda

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    The peloton and all of its fans warmly welcome back the argyle design in 2012.  Why there is not more of the pattern on the jersey, we may never know, but luckily it is more prevalent than last year.

    Garmin continues the trend of blue jerseys in 2012 but continues to feature the large Cervelo logo on the back of the jersey.  Garmin has always been one of the most fashionable teams in the peloton, and 2012 continues that tradition.

    Ranking:  9 out of 10

Euskaltel-Euskadi

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    Bring on the orange!  There is no way to accurately describe the fantastic design of this jersey, mostly because any attempt to describe what the Euskaltel jersey looks like results in the following phrase, "Its just awesome, you will have to see it."

    Euskatel is the easiest team to spot in the peloton due to its trademark orange jerseys and matching Orbea bikes.  However, one of the best features of the team kit has nothing to do with the color orange; the distinctive black shorts are a great reminder that a team does not have pick a flashy color or logo to look good.  In addition, the Orbea Odin helmets are the envy of every helmet designer.

    Ranking:  10 out of 10

Team Saxo Bank

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    Love the adoption of the darker blue color scheme!  It will really make Saxo Bank identifiable in the peloton, and if the color was not a clear enough clue, the huge "SAXO" on the back of each jersey should be a good clue as to what team you are watching.  Unfortunately the eagle is still on the kit, but the positives substantially outweigh the negatives.

    Saxo Bank did the most comprehensive redesign of its racing jersey in 2012, and it has paid off significantly.  The better question facing this team in 2012 is not how good it will look, but whether Contador will be racing. The answer to that question will determine whether we see the back of this jersey in breakaways or standing on podiums.

     

    Ranking:  10 out of 10

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