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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.

33 comments

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cavasta [216 posts] 3 years ago
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Better than the McCartney design.

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step-hent [723 posts] 3 years ago
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I thought this looked very 80s when i saw it unworn, but it looks good on Chris Hoy. It manages the easy identifiability of the last kit, but with more class from the deeper colours and more white - like it.

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James Warrener [1083 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice... although once you know about the flag its a bit off putting.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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Literally wrapping themselves in the flag!

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 3 years ago
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Like it - this is what the Olympic kit should have looked like instead of that mostly Scottish thing that got used.

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philly [43 posts] 3 years ago
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Oh come on... you can't say having the Union flag upside down is artistic license... that's marketing speak for 'we cocked up but it's too expensive to fix'
Anyone looking to buy this is going to be a proud GB cyclist and therefore proud of the flag and not want it upside down.
I'm amazed British Cycling are okay with this!

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Spanielsson [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Adidas go nowhere near this kit... They just pay BC an annual fee for their logo on the kit. It's made by MOA Sport/Nalini in Italy!

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 3 years ago
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Looks like he's going to be used as the tail wing of a BA plane. But I'm not complaining.

I dispised the McCartney effort. This is much more like it.....it has red (yes Stella, it is a colour too!)

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Raleigh [1667 posts] 3 years ago
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Looks ok.

I like the one where it just said GREAT BRITAIN accross the chest.

No nonsense there.

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chrisb87 [70 posts] 3 years ago
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i like it

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RAds [10 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm with philly on this. The flag is upside down, for God's sake..!! It's ridiculous.

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adscrim [141 posts] 3 years ago
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Don't you need a point of reference to determine if the flag is upside down? If the imaginary flagpole is on the left of the Jersey (the right as I look at it) then I believe the flag is the right way up.

I like it.

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Simon_MacMichael [2467 posts] 3 years ago
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Luckily, the Flag Institute, with input from the All Party Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee, has published a helpful booklet on the union flag.

http://www.flaginstitute.org/pdfs/Flying_Flags_in_the_United_Kingdom.pdf

Unhelpfully, while it deals with all you need to know about how to fly the flag from a pole - and there's much more to it than you might assume - and how it should appear as say a patch to a military uniform, there's nothing about how it should appear on clothing such as it is on the GB kit here.

It does appear that by convention, any depiction of the union flag when it's not an actual flag flying is such that there's a virtual flagpole to the left as you look at it; by that standard (sorry) the flag on the GB kit is upside down/back to front.

Some have mentioned on Twitter and elsewhere that flying the union flag upside down is confined to ships in distress - it isn't, since they fly ensigns (ie with the union flag in the top left canton).

If you can't get an ensign the right way up, you shouldn't be out on the water  3

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wheelsucker [58 posts] 3 years ago
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philly wrote:

Oh come on... you can't say having the Union flag upside down is artistic license... that's marketing speak for 'we cocked up but it's too expensive to fix'
Anyone looking to buy this is going to be a proud GB cyclist and therefore proud of the flag and not want it upside down.
I'm amazed British Cycling are okay with this!

Absolutely, artistic licence would have the two white bands the same size. Bloody Nazis, finally get their hands on our flag, no wonder it's upside down

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road slapper [87 posts] 3 years ago
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I think that at the end of the day everyone knows that it represents the UK, which is what it is meant to do...

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mbrads72 [191 posts] 3 years ago
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Looks good there. Unfortunately the mirror tells me it wouldn't look good here.

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andyp [1473 posts] 3 years ago
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some people really need to get out more.

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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Genuinely never noticed there is an upside to the union jack!

Though I think it looks cool. As far as rules for "right way up" or not is a bit of a rigid outlook. That the white bands are not equal might be a nod to the different stylized versions of the flag - say like silverstone logo.

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hockinsk [6 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the 'crayon' effect is a bit naff. Would look much stronger in solid colours. Like it apart from that though.

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Al__S [1083 posts] 3 years ago
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Quibbles about the botched flag aside, I like it- the previous was hideous and garish, this is relatively restrained- and the dark blue shorts/lower part of the skin suit is to be welcomed. Far classier than the previous kit

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ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 3 years ago
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Which way up is the flag on the matching underpants?

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Canis Cibo [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Is the flag the right way up on the back of the jersey? Then when you're behind the rider (which they all will be) it's OK. The front view is obviously the back of the flag, in this case, and correct.

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NeilXDavis [122 posts] 3 years ago
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Yep I thought it looked 80's as well but worn it looks a lot better. Like it...SOO badly needed a refresh! why on earth it took soo long...

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fatbeggaronabike [838 posts] 3 years ago
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You dont need a flag pole to tell wether the Union Flag is upside down the thin and thick white banding on the diagonals tells you. ie if going round the flag clockwise the banding will be thin,thick,thin,thick etc.

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andyp [1473 posts] 3 years ago
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'there's nothing about how it should appear on clothing such as it is on the GB kit here'

Back to the Daily Mail, folks. Plenty more to moan about.

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ColT [302 posts] 3 years ago
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Looks fine to me:

//pad2.whstatic.com/images/thumb/9/9f/The-Union-Jack-flies.jpg/629px-The-Union-Jack-flies.jpg)

Why assume the pole is on the left?

Edit: there is a pole in the pic, but it's not showing on this post - must be too wide an image??

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 3 years ago
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Well I think it looks great. I was very against the Olympic kit pre games but came to like it though did wonder why there was no red but still.

I have followed cycle racing for 30 years and IMHO this is the best looking Team GB cycle kit that has ever been produced. Excellent.

And I'm sorry but if you get that wound up by whether the "flag" (it's not a flag it's a jersey based on the design of the Union flag) then your life is either so perfect that this is the only thing that has ever come in to your life to spoil your perfect world or you have real issues. IMHO.

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davebinks [152 posts] 3 years ago
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philly wrote:

Oh come on... you can't say having the Union flag upside down is artistic license... that's marketing speak for 'we cocked up but it's too expensive to fix'
Anyone looking to buy this is going to be a proud GB cyclist and therefore proud of the flag and not want it upside down.
I'm amazed British Cycling are okay with this!

That assumes British Cycling know there is a right and wrong way for the flag. I very much doubt they do.

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davebinks [152 posts] 3 years ago
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deleted

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JulesW [36 posts] 3 years ago
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Because the convention of flying flags is pole on the left  3 It's a convention to avoid insult to a country's nationality

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