EF Pro Cycling is going to be riding around Italy this month in a bold new look. Normally sporting pink Rapha-made kits, the team will instead be swapping those out during the Giro d’Italia this month for a Rapha collaboration with Palace Skateboards, a brand known for its streetwear and skateboarding clothing.
A mishmash of tie-dye, polka dots, checkerboard patterns, Palace logos—including a cartoon duck on the front—and two faces on the sleeves, one bearded, the kits themselves are hard to accurately describe. It’s a bit easier to let pictures do the talking in this case.
The kit is as sure to be polarizing as it is to produce boatloads of attention (we’re writing about it, after all). Whether you love it or hate it is likely to fall along generational lines, with younger gen-z and millennial fans likely more inclined to embrace the kit. But that’s nothing new for EF Pro Cycling’s kits, which in the past couple of seasons have been more in line with popular fashion trends than any other team’s.
The collaboration is a limited release and will be raced only during the three weeks of the Giro d’Italia, which starts Saturday, October 3, 2020 and runs until October 25. Beyond bringing exposure to a new brand as well as a fresh new look for the team, the kit helps the team avoid a visual conflict with the maglia rosa, the pink leader’s jersey of the Giro d’Italia.
Cannondale, the team’s bike sponsor, is also in on the collaboration, and will provide special versions with matching graphics of all the team’s race bikes, including the SystemSix aero bike, the SuperSix EVO all-around/climbing bike and the SuperSlice time trial bike.
We have seen some teams temporarily change names and kits in the past, most recently team Ineos became the Ineos-Grenadiers at the Tour de France last month. And back in the Tour of Colombia earlier this year Rally Cycling adopted a temporary sponsorship with a local Colombian healthcare provider. But in those cases the kits either stayed very similar or maintained a subdued look. A temporary kit redesign this significant for one event is an interesting idea, and one that professional cycling very well could use more of, both to attract new fans to the sport and bring in more sponsorship dollars from companies that may not want to commit to full seasons.
The new kit will be available to purchase from Rapha and is comprised of several pieces, including the Pro Team Aero Jersey and Pro Team Bib Shorts II, as well as socks, caps and musettes to match. There will also be men’s and women’s versions of the Pro Team Training Jersey, and a women’s version of the Pro Team Bib Shorts and Pro Team Aero Jersey. Additionally, there will be off-bike wear available, including long and short sleeve t-shirts, a hat, a hoodie, an Oxford shirt and a Palace GORE-TEX jacket.