Professional sport is responsible for some of greatest fashion crimes of our times, but few can have a rap sheet as long as cycling's. Where there has been Lycra, there have been grave offences all too readily embraced by road-going amateurs. The pros at least can't choose what they wear and this year's new kits bring mixed fortunes to Britain's gold-plated riders.
Mark Cavendish, kept in the shadows behind Team Wiggins at Sky last year, has switched to the Belgian Omega Pharma-QuickStep team. Multiple sponsors (Quick-Step make laminate flooring, by the way) and the ensuing logo turf war further compromise style, as Cav shows in his new jersey. This doesn't excuse the weird two-tone shoulder pattern, however. Cav's former teammates will sport a stealthy new look unveiled on Friday. Team Sky has ditched Adidas for Rapha, the swanky London Lyrca merchants and cycle lifestyle evangelists. Their new strip, shown off by Bradley Wiggins, keeps the black and blue scheme but takes the blue stripe from chest to sleeve, a Rapha trademark. That, along with the single sponsor gives the front a Batman-on-a-bike look which some will find too sober, although a thick vertical blue stripe enlivens things slightly on the back.
But for a reminder of how bad things could be, check out Mario Cipollini's muscle suit, with which the Italian hurt eyes everywhere during the 2001 Tour of Italy.