Top 10: Terrible Cycling Kits
The sport of cycling has seen some sartorial shockers over the years. From Phonak to Footon, we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 worst kits
Hands up if you’ve got shocking kit! From classy La Vie Claire kit to this multi-coloured monstrosity, possibly inspired by motorway chevrons. Note the young Laurent Jalabert on the far left, making his professional debut; Marc Madiot and Jeff Bernard also raced for them.
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In making their professional cyclists’ kit mirror that of the DIY store employees, sartorial shame was undeservedly heaped on the likes of Laurent Fignon (pictured), Jacky Durand and Laurent Brochard.
Tonton Tapis (1991)
So nearly a classy Juventus-style strip for this team, sponsored by an interior design company. But then an upholstery-laden Belgian, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Graeme Souness, goes and spoils it all. That year, Stephen Roche was off-colour in more ways than one.
Photo: Courtesy Guy Dedieu
Jean-François Bernard, Jaan Kirsipuu and Giles Delion all raced for the French team in this colourful number. This was the beginning of a long history of fashion crimes led by directeur sportif Vincent Lavenu (centre). Chazal were the early incarnation of current brown-short and confetti-jersey combiners Ag2r La Mondiale. Some teams never learn.
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The mid-90s were a halcyon time for god-awful garments, with Aki, Carrera and Chazal helping to turn the peloton into a hallucinogenic eyesore. This yellow-and-green outfit from Polti was prominent, with Djamolidine Abdoujaparov and Gianni Bugno (above, taking the 1994 Tour of Flanders by the narrowest of margins) winning big races, and arguably the worst of a bad bunch.
Le Groupement (1995)
The French squad had a get-up that looked like the result of someone throwing paint at a wall and seeing if it stuck – an apt way of describing their financial dealings. Backed by a pyramid selling company (what could possibly go wrong there?), the team crumbled halfway through the season, leaving Rouleur columnist Phillipa York (pictured) and world champion Luc Leblanc among those out of a job.
Photo: Phil O’Connor
Their current kit is no great shakes, but they’ve toned it down considerably from this original in-your-face shade of cyan. When Astana riders wore bright blue leg and arm warmers, it brought to mind romper-suited toddlers on pushbikes.
Why go pink or red when you can have salmon, the worst of both worlds? “That colour was probably my least favourable,” Cadel Evans said in a recent interview. Predictor flogged pregnancy test kits, making it a thoroughly naff combination.
They’ve left an indelible footprint on the sport. In the next century, when far superior teams and champions have long since been forgotten, Footon-Servetto will still be mentioned in cycling circles: not for their lacklustre, last place WorldTour finish, but as a tan-coloured exemplar for how not to do cycling kit.
Neri Sottoli (2014)
Our eyes! After the Rabottini and Santambrogio doping positives, if only the Italian team’s future could be as bright as their jersey.
It was gruelling whittling it down to just ten terrible kits. Dishonourable mentions also go to Transmallorca (1978), Joker (1987), Riso Scotti (1999), Acqua e Sapone (2002), Phonak (above), Team Coast (2003), Rock Racing (2009) and Team LPR (2009).