Men’s WorldTour kits of 2022: The best and the rest
The most important battle of the early cycling season is waged not on roads but on moodboards. Graphic designers and team sponsors agonise over the placement of PNGs, integrate the most evocative fades, and send their designs off to the UCI for a final thumbs up.
Sometimes things turn out beautifully. Quite a lot of the time, it’s a copy and paste job from the year before. But eventually, when you replicate that process 20 or so times, at some point early in the year – after the customary embargoed EF kit holding everything up – there’s a WorldTour peloton worth of new season kit to rank.
Today is that day. All rankings are final. Correspondence will not be entered into.
3. Israel-Premier Tech
For 2022, Israel-Premier Tech loses the Start-Up Nation bit of its moniker, and gains a titan of the peat trade in Premier Tech. Their kit has had a substantial overhaul, too.
No longer a generic navy blue and white number, the team has added a geometric Bauhaus-inspired pattern across the bottom half of the jersey, the grippers of the knicks, and the team socks. Taken as a whole, it’s a massive improvement and one of the best of the pack.
2. EF Education-EasyPost
EF Education-EasyPost consistently has one of the best kits in the peloton, and this year is no exception. Last year’s kit was quite subdued; this year there’s a lot more going on. A fragmented digital haze swirls haphazardly over the team’s trademark pink, while there’s the new addition of an argyle motif – a callback to the team’s kits stretching back to the Garmin and Cannondale days.
EasyPost steps up as a title sponsor, while Nippo – the sport’s greatest social media presence – tragically steps down to a supporting partner.
— Team Cofidis (@TeamCOFIDIS) January 6, 2022
I’m as shocked as you are. After years in slightly different variations of the same crimson, white and sun-covered kit, there’s been a major shake-up for 2022 for the French underdogs.
The sun is gone, and so are the red knicks. Instead we get a much more subdued, tasteful kit that would look good without the sponsor logos and isn’t ruined by the addition of them.
The ‘also good’ ones
Astana is not, historically, an easy team to like. It’s a bit annoying, then, that they ride the prettiest-looking bikes in the peloton and have a really nice kit.
Not a lot has changed for Astana-Qazaqstan in appearance since last year, although there’s been quite a lot of intrigue behind the scenes when it comes to sponsors. Our favourite glocal Canadians Premier Tech have jumped ships to Israel, while Kazakhstan – the main stakeholder in the team – is going through a rebranding exercise, changing its name to Qazaqstan (sadly, pronounced the same and not “quazzockstan”).
In bleaker news: the authoritarian government of the country – which was sufficiently emotionally invested in its cycling team that the prime minister forced Alexandre Vinokourov’s return to its leadership – has faced a popular uprising, and killed more than 200 peaceful protestors. What implications that chaos will have with cycling remains to be seen, but it’s a fitting ‘feel bad’ story to go along with the team.
Still. Very dashing.
Freed from the intense media glare that comes with housing Juraj Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe has taken the opportunity to shake things up. The team’s 2022 kit is a radical departure from what came before it, with an asymmetrical Mondrian-esque design accented by a red square over the left hip.
You’ll notice the prominent X BO on the sleeves. Sadly this isn’t a new gaming console, but a new self-cleaning steam oven lifestyle from Bora. On the plus side, that means that we have a lot to look forward to on the promo front this year, if you look forward to hyper-erotic slo-mo footage of cyclists enjoying their new-found passion for vaporised water.
AG2R Citroën keeps things exactly the same as last year – the brown knicks, the white top, the diagonal typographical elements that read ‘AG2R LA CITROËN MONDIALE’, which, to be clear, is not the team’s name.
Last year it snatched the silver medal position in our definitive kit ranking, but there are hungry rivals this year and trotting out the same as last year doesn’t move the needle.
Lotto Soudal makes a return to a familiar formula in 2022 – a retro-looking red jersey with a white block across the chest, just like seasons 2015-2018. It looks clean, and from the front you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Belgian team is one of the more stylish of the pack.
And then you see it from the back, and can’t help but notice the enormous red arse with CAPS FUEL CARD across it, and realise that what could have been a very good kit is now subtly, but significantly, worse.
The ‘meh’ squad
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
Image: Tim de Waele / Getty Images
Cycling’s most prolific winners are back with a new look in 2022. Gone from the title sponsorship is PVC windowframe manufacturer, Deceuninck. That leaves a space free for Quick-Step’s Alpha Vinyl product to feature in the title sponsor spot – a “rigid, 100%-watertight, ultra-strong vinyl flooring solution” that is “almost indistinguishable from real wood or stone.”
In prominent position on the shoulders of the jersey is Safety Jogger shoes, the minor team sponsor that most has my attention this season. They make protective footwear that is about as cool and edgy as their brand name.
Elsewhere, the team has toned down its creepy fur motif from last year – which was supposed to evoke the team’s Wolf Pack moniker, but really just evokes dense plumes of Lynx body spray and toxic masculinity. Now they have a bit of pink on the jersey, a fade, white shoulders, and sensible footwear.
In the immortal words of the US philosopher M. Hoppus (1997), “I guess this is growing up.”
Yeah the boiz
Trek-Segafredo is routinely in the upper third of these rankings, and in 2020 they even took the win with a clean, classic design. This year, however, they’ve pared it back a little too far – a white jersey with a single band of red across the chest. I don’t dislike it, but it doesn’t exactly get the pulse racing either.
The training kit, as per usual, is an absolute banger.
Critical media last year described this team’s kit a “cursed hellscape of a bicycle outfit” – something that the team’s designer evidently took to heart, because it’s an improvement this year around.
The amorphous swirls that evoked the last belches of a dying planet have been given structure, with orange and red geometric patterns across the chest. The light blue armbands – a legacy of the team’s dalliance with luxury watchmaker Richard Mille – have another sponsor nestled inside them, and the leg grippers now have a colourful pattern on them. An improvement.
Image: Photo Gomez Sport
The Spanish team has changed kit partners to La Passione, and ditched the sky blue jersey in favour of a navy blue top and bottom. That A) will make the squad a bit harder to pick out, and B) lacks a little bit of je ne sais quoi. Some light blue stripes and the familiarly squiggly Movistar logo add a bit of visual interest. While tasteful enough, it’s hardly thrilling.
The British superteam moves on from its largely navy blue kit of 2021 by changing kit suppliers (from Castelli to BioRacer) and adding a red fade to the shoulders. Up close it’s nicely textured with a diamond pattern on the arms, but from a distance it’s a bit smudgy and indeterminate.
The Ineos logo, all five competing fonts of it, is back on the front after a year away, while the derivative 4WD that is the Grenadier makes a return appearance beneath it. As a whole, I hate is slightly less than I like it, so we’ll chalk it up as a ‘meh’.
Also, if you come across Tom Pidcock at an arcade, run.
Jumbo-Visma has long been the yellowest team in the professional ranks, and in 2022 they have overdelivered on that key promise. There are more logos than before but it’s kept pretty neat, all things considered. They are a very good bicycle team, with a kit that is very neutral.
A cycling kit that is the sartorial equivalent of La Marseillaise blasting at maximum volume, anywhere and everywhere and every single time that it is seen.
The Dutch squad rolls over exactly the same kit as last year, which means it’s again predominantly black with a vertical pair of light blue stripes running the length of the jersey. The colourful DSM logo on the chest breaks things up a bit, but doesn’t do enough heavy lifting to redeem a kit about which I am too bored to write another w
UAE Team Emirates
We’ll be seeing a lot of this again this year, which is fine, I suppose. The team’s 2022 kit is pretty much identical to 2021, which means a mostly white jersey, some weird fades happening around the armpit, and some gold flourishes. The team is, again, sponsored by a grab bag of Emirati petrol companies and an airline, plus the intriguing ‘MyWhoosh’ – which did not appear to exist on the internet last year but seems to have actually gotten its act together this time around. It’s a free Zwift competitor based in Abu Dhabi.
On the plus side, Tadej Pogačar will spend most of the season in leaders jerseys of various persuasions so we don’t have to look at this kit too much.
Intermarché stepped up to the WorldTour in 2021, beneficiaries of CCC’s demise. In 2022 they have the same name and most of the same sponsors, which are tactically deployed in roughly every single square centimetre of fabric.
Given the sheer volume of sponsors that need to squeeze onto the kit, it’s not as untidy as you might expect, but adding to the sense of chaos is the asymmetry of this year’s offering: one arm blue, the other fluro yellow.
On the plus side, the Stavanger Stallion has joined the team this year, a fact that alone comes close to redeeming the entire messy affair. Here he is, lurking naturally behind a pole, dreaming about where the magic happens [ie. everywhere that he goes]:
The man, the myth.
Due to my rigid adherence to the adage “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”, I will say nothing at all about this kit.
Let’s instead talk about the Australian milkshake flavouring, Blue Heaven.
Blue Heaven is a lurid berry flavouring that streaks the side of a milkshake glass, pooling and coagulating at the bottom. Why would people want a blue milk drink, and how long have they wanted it for? That is a uniquely Australian mystery. It is an unappealing flavour – a synthetic vanilla mixed with raspberry, neither of which are blue – and, more to the point, it looks like industrial waste. It is lumpy, syrupy, gradient-faded blue milk, and it is a visual disaster.
I hate it.
Anyway, quite enough about that completely unrelated product, which is in no way reminiscent of BikeExchange-Jayco’s 2022 team kit whatsoever.
As for the team’s sponsors – as has been customary for years now, the team takes its name from businesses owned by Gerry Ryan, the Australian businessman and philanthropist that is the team’s owner. Over the years, that rotating cast has passed title sponsorship between Mitchelton, BikeExchange, and Jayco.
Ever the optimist, I am holding out hope that in 2023 the team name will be Gumbuya World p/b Moulin Rouge – The Musical.
ProTeams that you care about
The French Total Energies squad have a big year ahead of them in 2022. They’ve picked up Juraj Sagan as a marquee signing, along with the bike brand Specialized. That’s a lot to wrap your head around – a statement that applies to the new team kit, too.
Royal blue knicks and a white jersey are the starting place, but then there’s been an accident in a crayon factory, and this is where we get to. I don’t hate it, but yeah … it is a lot.
The top ProTeam in the world, Alpecin-Fenix pretty much rolls over last year’s kit, with the biggest change being the addition of window-frame sponsor Deceuninck onto the knicks. Otherwise, it’s the same caffeinated shampoo-shilling, Classics-conquering crew that you know and love.
As far as I can tell, this kit is exactly the same as last year – a red fading down to black with white logos. I will forgive the lack of originality if they will give the people what they crave: Warren Barguil doing whatever Warren Barguil wants, all of the time.
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
— Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (@UnoXteam) January 26, 2022
Half of it is yellow. Half of it is red. All of it is Scandinavian.
B&B Hotels p/b KTM
My favourite ProTeam that never actually does anything has sadly toned down its bonkers kit a little from last year. It remains heavy on the glaz, but has less of the design flourishes which made the 2021 kit such a messy joy – fewer “black dots that … are the fruit of my emotions”, less “bubbling, because everything comes crashing down,” and hardly any “remnants of a gust of wind.” (All direct quotes from the designer last year, btw).
It does say ‘Synergie’ across both shoulders though, which is good.
Inject this into my veins.
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