After the unmissable duck-themed kit that landed in Italy last year from its Palace collab, it's been an exciting wait for EF Education-NIPPO's 2021 Giro d'Italia switch out collection... and once again the design is striking, with the Rapha gear inspired by "people from different backgrounds and nations coming together in pursuit of a common goal". Rapha's new TT Aero kit will also make its racing debut with the team at the Giro, while the women’s team Canyon SRAM will be racing in it later this month.
Remember that crazy Rapha x Palace Skateboards collab last year with ducks printed over it? Well EF Education-NIPPO has struck again, a move that is essential for the team's Giro participation as its signature pink clashes with the leader's jersey.
“But no pink, is no problem for this team,” says Rapha.
The eight riders will be kitted out in Rapha’s new Euphoria collection. This year the switch out kit is less commercial, says the WorldTour team manager Jonathan Vaughters, and instead has “a true and beautiful message”.
So many people curious about our #giro2021 kit design. It’s perhaps more subtle, but also much more *thoughtful* than last year. It isn’t as commercial. But has a true and beautiful message. So much #color!!!!! #multicultural #OneWorld
— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) May 5, 2021
This kaleidoscopic creation is designed to “celebrate people from different backgrounds and nations coming together in pursuit of a common goal,” says Rapha.
As well as the switch-out kit, EF will also be debuting Rapha's new TT Aerosuit. Alongside this, Rapha has launched a new Aero collection that has been developed over the last two years includes socks, overshoes and mitts. Rapha claims that wind tunnel data shows the men’s kit produces a 12.4 watt energy saving at 55km/h, one-degree yaw, compared with the old team issue package.
Over 100 fabrics and fabric combinations were tested. Rapha says that textured fabrics were tested at Loughborough University, in their state-of-the-art Wind-Tunnel Laboratory. Rapha says: “Smooth fabrics were optically tested for surface roughness to identify the smoothest surfaces.
“We targeted the design to the specific energy expenditure of the athlete rather than just the average speed or the lowest measured in the tunnel.
“Where texture is not required for drag-reducing benefit, we elected to use the lightest weight smooth fabrics available to offer high compression and a second-skin fit, whilst improving thermal regulation.”
Using the wind tunnel at Silverstone Sports Engineering, Rapha says it was able to evaluate the effectiveness of each skinsuit, testing over 40 over six sessions.
“These protos tested different fabric combinations, seam placements, fit, fabric tension and garment construction techniques,” says Rapha.
The Euphoria collection will be available for customers to buy from the end of May on Rapha's website. Will it prove as popular as the already legendary Rapha x Palace gear, that is still commanding prices of £400-plus on eBay for the race jerseys? We're not so sure, but it's certainly eye-catching once more...