Blazin' Saddles: The 2020 WorldTour kits reviewed and rated
With the new season almost upon us, it's time for the annual run through of the WorldTour teams' togs for 2020. With his Eurosport tongue firmly in cheek, Felix Lowe reviews all the new kits for the coming season, plus look at the best – and worst – from the Pro-Continental division.
A new season is a new dawn and a fresh chance for teams to start anew and express their identity in the kits that they will wear all season (or, at least, until they bring out a limited-edition outfit for the Grand Tours). Without further ado, let's look at each WorldTour team – in alphabetical order – and give their kits a rating out of five stars.
Ag2R-La Mondiale **
Ag2R-La Mondiale 2020 kitEurosport
Almost identical to last year's kit – only the side panels have been tweaked – this is a solid offering from the French team. If you can get beyond the brown shorts (which most people can't).
Astana Pro Cycling kit 2020Eurosport
The designers have done away with the fade, which is a good thing, but maintained the classic simplicity of the kit. Retaining the black shorts was definitely the right decision, one that makes the national colours of Kazakhstan all the classier. It's a shame that Aleksandr Vlasov's Russian champion's jersey has not been given the same attention to detail as Alexey Lutsenko's Kazakh kit – but that's what you get for riding for the host nation, I guess.
Bahrain-McLaren kit 2020Eurosport
Combining orange and red is usually fashion suicide – just ask the experts over at Vogue – and it certainly seemed this was the case when the revamped Bahrain-McLaren launched their new kit last month.
But they also say that the finest of wine improves with age. And now I've had a few weeks to get my head around this kit, I'm 100% fully on board. Orange and red is a gamble, but it's the blue – on the sleeves and picked up in the socks – which saves this, transforming something terrible into a sheer delight. The whole look is picked up in the Merida bikes to create a cracking ensemble – the best in the peloton. Bravo to kit manufacturer Le Col for this daring gem.
Bora-Hansgrohe kit 2020Eurosport
Same colours just darker shoulders, more black generally, and a different white-and-spearmint pattern scheme on the torso. We're used to the colours now – and it's undoubtedly Bora. But that doesn't make it any less bland. Peter Sagan's rainbow stripes on his sleeve will provide some much-needed jazz for the Slovenian showman until we see him in green in July.
CCC Team **
CCC Team kit 2020Eurosport
If you can't decide whether orange is the new black, then why not blend them together with a fade that's so out of date it might as well be Facebook?
It's no wonder GVA is not wearing his parachute like the others – who'd want to survive this monstrosity? I'll give CCC this: in the post-Euskaltel era, at least the day-glow orange is distinctive. Although Bahrain-McLaren have showed how you can use such a bold colour to a more dramatic effect. Clue: it's with other colours and doesn't include a bleeding fade.
Gold sleeves, a deep tan and those shades just about saves face for Greg van Avermaet – but we can't all be a smouldering Olympic champion with legs that could start a new Trojan war.
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ***
Cofidis, Solutions Credits kit 2020Eurosport
The French team have celebrated their rise to the big time with what is a marked improvement from last year's Clip Art design. More red shows that Elia Viviani's new team are back in business – even if the font for the Cofidis logo is dangerously close to Comic Sans. All in all, it's a safe kit that won't be pulling up any trees – summed up perfectly by the resigned expression from the chap fourth from right (Christophe Laporte?).
Deceuninck-QuickStep kit 2020 - photo: Sigfrid EggersEurosport
Seeing that they win so many bike races, perhaps it's just an act of playing-field-levelling kindness that Pat Lefevere's boys will be donning this ghastly mess in 2020. If ever there was an incentive for Julian Alaphilippe to add to his collection of polka dot and yellow jerseys, this is it. I mean, when the Lidl logos on the shoulders are the best thing about this Castorama rip-off of a dungaree-inspired garment, then alarm bells have to sound.
EF Education First ****
EF Education First kit 2020Eurosport
Whether or not the retiring of the tie-dye aspect of the team's funky rebranding was related to the departure of Taylor Phinney we'll probably never know. Instead, there's some kind of psychedelic pattern in the same pink and fuschia colour scheme across the torso.
Elsewhere, it's pretty much the same as last year, with every member of EF riding as if they're leading the Giro while raving in the Hacienda. Dark blue bib shorts underline that this is more than a sporting garment, it's a sartorial statement. Edgy and bright, it's not for everyone, but then again neither is sushi or Stranger Things.
Groupama-FDJ kit 2020Eurosport
With Groupama, you know what you're going to get. But this year's random combination of red, white and blue is pretty snazzy – although, on closer inspection (you can never be so sure), it appears to be exactly the same as last year. Nice kit, all the same. Although the jury's still out on Stefan Kung's national TT skin suit which somewhat rubbishes the old adage that X marks the spot...
Israel Start-Up Nation
Israel Start-Up Nation kit 2020Eurosport
Yes, that's zero stars you can (not) see above... Is this a first: a top cycling team co-sponsored by a book? If Start-Up Nation authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer have managed hit The Wall Street Journal bestseller list, they did so for their grasp on the economy and socio-political status of Israel, rather than any kit designing nous.
This monstrosity looks like it was actually designed by a start-up company which won't see out 2020. Adding red and green chevrons to the shorts is a bit like a geography teacher growing a moustache to appear a bit more hip and edgy – it just doesn't make up for the existing blandness. The colours aren't bad, but the way they have been thrown together mirrors the creativity of a gnat.
Lotto Soudal ****
Lotto Soudal kit 2020 - Philippe GilbertEurosport
A dark and sinister-looking kit marks Philippe Gilbert's return to the Lotto family after nine years at BMC and the old foe down the road. If the colours recall the old flag of the German Empire and early Weimar Republic, then that's as far as the comparisons go. This is a vast improvement on recent Lotto offerings – even if it gives the riders a slightly oppressive and angry look.
Keeping us on our toes, it's worth noting that the team will race as Lotto Soudal when in Belgium, but Soudal Lotto everywhere else. Such sponsorship fluidity apparently extends to rider nationalities, too…
Mitchelton-Scott kit 2020Eurosport
No change from the Australian team who will make do with their middle-of-the-road black-and-bogey-green ensemble. Lets Go… get a designer, perhaps? Or failing that, someone who understands how to use apostrophe's.
Movistar Team **
Team Movistar kit 2020 - Photo: Gomez SportEurosport
The Spanish team have replaced last year's fade with a pixelated dotty offering that's a tropophobic's worst nightmare. It's not terrible but it certainly gives you a headache looking at those dots too closely. At least national champions Alejandro Valverde and Lourdes Oyarbide have a classy white kit with red-and-yellow bands.
NTT Pro Cycling *
NTT Pro Cycling kit 2020Eurosport
The team formerly known as Dimension Data are so late to the fade party that they even missed last orders at the bar. The lights are off, the doors are closed – even the cleaners have been and gone. Full marks for moving away from the staid, corporate white look. But whoever decided that the blue-black fade (with Marvel-style six-pack amplifiers) was a direction worth pursuing should be forced to host the after-party in their house. It's essentially blue Ineos-lite.
And let's hope someone gives poor Nic Dlamini a jersey that's big enough. As if having his arm broken by an aggressive park warden wasn't bad enough… His raised hand (prior to that horrific incident) is topical, mind: it mirrors the cartoon hand silhouettes from the Qhubeka charity which adorn the jersey's pockets – a quirky remnant from the Dimension Data days.
Team Ineos ***
Team Ineos kit 2020Eurosport
No change for the team whose new togs and sponsor were not parachuted in until the week preceding last year's Giro. That means Ineos' Count Dracula-style burgundy-to-black fade will be one of three remaining sartorial etiolations in the WorldTour in 2020. Expect something new for the Tour. Perhaps Sir Jim Radcliffe will finally agree to a new company logo – that would add at least one extra star alone.
Team Jumbo-Visma ****
Team Jumbo-Visma kit 2020Eurosport
Putting in an early bid for the maillot jaune this July, Jumbo-Visma have come up with this, the out-and-out daddy of all the top GC team kits – provided you're looking at it from the front. (From behind it's rather peculiar and sparse, dropping two stars in rating.)
The team also engineered a novel way of keeping Dylan Groenewegen happy in the build up to his Tour de France snub: allowing the sprinter take centre-stage for the launch in front of the team's other big hitters. I wonder how George Bennett felt on g seeing this rib-tickler?
Team Sunweb ***
Team Sunweb kit 2020 - Nicolas RocheEurosport
No huge changes for Sunweb this year – as demonstrated by Nico Roche in this training photo. A closer look reveals some two-tone panelling in the red, but that's about it. Classic look with the black but it doesn't scream wear-me even if the é looks to be in a different state of perkiness depending on which shoulder upon which it appears.
Trek-Segafredo kit 2020 - Vincenzo and Antonio NibaliEurosport
Trek always come up with the business before switching to a more boring offering on the eve of the Tour. It's a conundrum – and I hope they wake up and smell the Segafredo coffee this summer – because the team's initial 2020 offering is a sumptuous kit worthy of at least two Nibalis nibali's and three Grand Tours.
UAE-Team Emirates *
UAE Team Emirates kit 2020Eurosport
It's crazy that one team can use pretty much the exact same colours as two others (Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo) and yet come up with something so whooshingly inferior. At least it won't make Dan Martin so bad he's joining Israel Start-Up Nation.
I'm sure Yousif Mirza is oh-so proud that his United Arab Emirates flag is slightly bigger than the others flags which adorn the chests of his teammates. Not that you'd really know it by looking, but Italy's Davide Formolo and Argentina's Max Richeze are also national road champions. An opportunity missed.
The best and worst of the rest…
Alpecin-Fenix kit 2020Eurosport
The balding riders at the team formerly known as Corendon-Circus will be thanking their lucky stars at the arrival of co-sponsor Alpecin following the unwinding of the Russian Global Cycling Project over at Katusha. Getting involved with everyone's favourites Caffeine shampoo is the interiors company Fenix.
The flagship kit is a simple but classic dark blue number which recalls the early IAM Cycling days – although Van der Poel's niche cyclocross world champion's jersey stands out, as does Tim Merlier's classy Belgian champion's togs.
Arkea-Samsic kit 2020Eurosport
Over in Brittany, Warren Barguil's Arkéa-Samsic have come up with a fade for new arrivals Nairo and Nacer Bouhanni. It's basically CCC's orange kit but in red and with a fade-to-white on the sleeves and a black v-neck collar. As such it gets double the star count. Barguil will be relieved to be riding in a tasteful tricolor until the French national championships come round again in June.
Other new kits outside the WorldTour have made major ripples. Let's start with the loudest – courtesy of, ahem, Barneyani-CSF…
Say what you like about the new Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè kit, but I'm going to say this: I like it enough to hand over three stars, provided they're not racing with Burgos-BH (that would just be too much).
Sticking with Italy and another team which devours more sponsors than Jan Ullrich's had hot dinners, with Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec putting the 'piu' into sponsor hoarding. It's so flagrant and so reminiscent of the free kits you get when riding amateur Italian gran fondos that it has to warrant at least two stars.
Now, get used to this kit – but not this celebration, I'm afraid – for B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM have secured wildcard selection for the Tour this summer. Two stars, I'm afraid, chaps. To be fair, there's not much you can do with that colour...
Elsewhere, Nippo Delko One Provence have come up with this eye-catching newspaper-style offering which it worth three stars at the very least.
Spanish team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA have been right up there in the fashion stakes in recent years – and while this year's kit is not as classically vintage as last year, its impressive stacking of different greens earns bonus points for originality, taking its tally up to four stars.
And finally, for now, we have Team Total Direct Energie who, despite the curiously dulled image, have done little with this kit to dispel the notion that they really are just Groupama-FDJ's B Team in (mild) disguise. A generous two stars.