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Expert trolling of UCI rules as Rapha and EF Education-Nippo unveil new kit

The duck has gone ... but look more closely at this year's kit and you'll see it keeps within the guidelines...

The one-off collaboration between Rapha and Palace Skate for EF Pro Cycling at last year’s Giro d’Italia produced one of the most striking kits we’ve seen in the pro peloton.

> Rapha + Palace EF Pro Cycling kit

The new kit for EF Education-Nippo, as the team is now known, plays a singular riff on that, going from, as the team puts it, “the world’s least compliant jersey, to the world’s most compliant jersey.”

If, like us, you’ve pored over UCI rules on kit design, you’ll know that regulations are tight over issues such as how much space should be given to sponsors’ logos, and where they should be placed.

And, if you take a close look at the new EF Education-Nippo jersey, from Rapha, you’ll see that they have kept within those parameters … and incorporated the guidelines into the design.

Very well played.

“From the low-profile blackout kit we debuted at the 2019 Tour Down Under to the standout switch out that shook up last year’s Giro, Rapha and EF have always designed to disrupt,” says the team on its website.

“Pulling on our kit should always mean pushing the envelope and committing to driving the sport forwards.

“But even as the team who brought the pro peloton its first duck-inspired kit, we don’t want to ruffle too many feathers.

“After getting into hot water last season, we’ve decided to create a compliant kit for 2021. In fact, we’ve tried to create the world’s most compliant cycling kit.

“Though we’ve earned a reputation as rule breakers, our design for this season centres around the rulemakers’ regulations.

“To ensure we comply with every rule and regulation no matter how seemingly insignificant, the designers have shown their working. For correct positioning and spacing of sponsor logos, they’ve left their meticulous measurements marked up while subtle annotations are a nod to their creative approach to compliance.

“These finer details won’t be seen from the helicopter shots but for those who wear our kit, riders and supporters alike, they will serve as a reminder of our team’s desire to move the dial and change the sport,” the team adds.

“For fans following the team on TV or from the roadside, their favourite riders will still stand out in the team’s traditional hi-vis pink.”

Given the clash with the leader’s maglia rosa, we’ll still be looking forward to whatever Rapha and EF Education-Nippo come out with as a swap-out jersey for this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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