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Kit's design owes much to Stella McCartney London 2012 design, but it's red, white and blue for the union flag...

German sportswear giant adidas may have lost the Team Sky gig, but they still supply the kit for the Great Britain team and today have unveiled the 2013 version of the kit, described as “the most innovative ever launched,” which has a strong influence from the one-off number Stella McCartney designed for last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

The outgoing kit was based on a union flag design with bright blues and reds and minimal use of white. While McCartney’s singular take on the union flag for London 2012 has gone – it’s back to the familiar colours here, rather than two separate shades of blue – the red and blue, like in the kit ridden to gold medal success last summer, are deeper shades compared to the standard kit it replaces.

The kit could well provoke controversy among flag purists, however… that larger white space above, not below, the arm of the St Patrick’s Cross [the red ‘X’ on the union flag] at the bottom of the jersey means that the flag is upside-down, or back-to-front, depending which way you look at it.

Vexed vexillologists we suppose could always buy a jersey, stick it on and model it in front of a mirror, restoring the flag to its rightful design and, hopefully, a smile to their faces.

It's worth appreciating though that this isn't a flag designed to be flown from a mast or flagpole - it's a cycling jersey, and a fair bit of artistic licence is therefore permissible.

Available to buy from February – it will be formally launched at the London Cycle Show later this month – the kit represents the fruit of months of collaboration between British Cycling and adidas, and given the reference to its testing on the UCI Pro Tour [actually the WorldTour nowadays – ed] has clearly also had input from Team Sky, which was supplied by adidas in its first three years in the peloton.

According to adidas,

The new look team kit is the most innovative ever launched, with the new design combining the aerodynamics of time trial skin suits with the comfort of elite stage race jerseys.

The key innovation feature within the new adistar British Cycling range is the bolero – a one piece aerodynamic leading edge – just like the front of an aeroplane’s wing, designed to deliver maximum efficiency and speed for the rider.

With certain items being vigorously tested over the past two years on the UCI Pro Tour peloton, the new range combines the best of adidas innovation with elements of classic Italian manufacturing and reflective designs to enhance visibility. The range will comprise elite level versions with a replica line up, allowing for fans of the team to experience the same technologies and design features during their ride.

The latest formotion patterns and ClimaCool technologies are incorporated to ensure optimal movement and comfort for the wearer. Every detail is taken care of and elastic grippers feature across the range to ensure that the apparel doesn’t slip out of place.

The new kit marks a new chapter in a longstanding partnership spanning seven years, during which adidas have provided British Cycling with performance kit that has helped contribute to an unprecedented period of success for the team, with 26 Olympic medals, 42 Paralympic medals and 52 World Champions.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.