Rapha unveils new colours for EF Education-Nippo at the Giro d’Italia – and it’s as bold as you’d hope

New time trial skinsuit also announced ahead of Saturday’s Giro d'Italia start

Rapha Euphoria kit for EF at the 2021 Giro d'Italia

Riding in its usual pink jerseys isn’t an option for the EF Education-Nippo squad for the next three weeks as it competes in the Giro d’Italia, with the team’s kit clashing with the Grand Tour’s leader jersey, so it’s switched out to a new – and typically bold – design.

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Dubbed ‘Euphoria’, Rapha says the kit is designed to celebrate people from different nations and backgrounds coming together in pursuit of a common goal, as represented by its broad colour palette.

Last year, the team got into hot water with its duck-themed Palace Skateboards collaboration, earning a 4,500 Swiss Franc fine from the UCI for non-compliant clothing because it hadn’t registered the design far enough in advance. 

The UCI has to vet any temporary design to make sure it doesn’t resemble another team’s kit, it can’t be mistaken for a classification leader’s jersey and it doesn’t advertise any prohibited sponsorships. 

Having had its knuckles rapped in 2020, we’d guess that this year’s design has been through due process with the UCI.

If you want to get your hands on Rapha’s Euphoria collection, it will be available to buy on the brand’s site from the end of May.

And a new skinsuit for the Giro d’Italia

For the first stage 9km Giro d’Italia time trial on Saturday, as well as the final stage 21 time trial on Sunday 30 May, EF Education-Nippo will be debuting a new Rapha skinsuit design.

The culmination of two years of development with experts from Loughborough University in the UK, the new skinsuit is designed to shave seconds off the team’s times, according to Rapha.

Named the TT Aerosuit, Rapha says the new skinsuit is its fastest yet, saving a claimed 12.4 watts at 55 km/h relative to the previous team issue skinsuit.

Rapha worked with the sports science institute at Loughborough University, using its wind tunnel to test the whole suite of kit: suits, overshoes, mitts and socks.

Rapha says it evaluated more than 100 different fabrics, optically testing them to find the smoothest surfaces, and making up more than 40 prototypes for wind tunnel testing.

Rapha skinsuit prototype
One of the 40-plus prototype skinsuits wind tunnel tested by Rapha.

But rather than just focusing on the lowest drag numbers, Rapha says its testing looked at real-world data on energy expenditure when riding a grand tour time trial, with multiple speeds and wind angles.

As a result, the design is a mix of textured fabrics placed where they have the most impact on reducing drag, complemented with lightweight, smooth, compressive fabrics for improved thermoregulation, where aerodynamics are less important. 

Dr Simon Tuplin from Loughborough University says this has resulted in a skinsuit that’s less sensitive to crosswinds and how it’s worn by the individual rider than a normal skinsuit.

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The Canyon//SRAM women’s team will also be kitted out with the new skinsuit for its races later in the month. Design features from the new TT Aerosuit will be carried forward to Rapha’s 2022 summer season consumer range.