I don’t mind admitting that part of the appeal of cycling to me is the jerseys. First off, which other sports have competitions within competitions? Not in the hunt for the leader’s jersey? The why not try your hand at the mountain or sprints competition? Brilliant. Win the world championships and you get to wear a rainbow jersey – for a whole year! Too good.
In fact, I’m not sure whether the jerseys got me into cycling, or whether they were just a coincidental bonus. OK, it is the latter, but you’ve got to love how cycling revolves around jerseys.
And here at the Olympics, with everyone in national jerseys, but with all the sponsors wiped away, there are some pretty good-looking and different kits on display.
The Italians went off-piste and plumped for a white, rather than their usual blue, get-up, complete with Chinese-style Italia lettering. And the Danish kit’s looking pretty cool with the Danish flags on the sleeves, which appears to be prime ‘advertsing space’, ensuring you know exactly who they are.
The simple all-blue of the Ukrainian kit wins a lot of points, whereas the British gear lacks wow-factor, technically brilliant though I’m sure it is. In fact, someone pointed out that it looks like a school PE kit, which probably wasn’t the look they were going for.
And as for Cadel Evans and Michael Rogers of Australia in the time trial – they just looked like they were naked from the waist up. “Hasn’t Evans got a top on?” people kept asking. “Is that allowed?” That Aussie kit might yet be even tighter on the track riders. Thank goodness the shorts weren’t yellow, too…
Matching booties or otherwise, gloves or no gloves, custom-painted aero helmets, and with plenty of specially painted-up bikes and custom eyewear going on, style points were up for grabs, but it’s hard to pick a winner.
As a slight aside, the Japanese track team rolled up here at the bunker yesterday. Big fans of Procycling one and all, of course, they were a little worried about the British team as the track events approached. They had no Madison team qualified, but clearly Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have made their mark in Japan, and have a load of fans in the Japanese team who were looking forward to watching them do their thing.
The Japanese team’s red and white team kit’s pretty cool, but some of them plumped for some pretty radically coloured Oakleys rather than the usual gear-matching options. Their custom programme has gone into overdrive in terms of colour options, and athletes have been coming in here in droves to take full advantage, with the Belarusian athletes, for example, going for one ear-sock in green and one in red… Truly off-piste.
So whose get-up is best here at the Olympics? You decide…