You might remember that EF Pro Cycling went nuts with their kit at the Giro d’Italia last year. In order to remedy a colour clash between the race leader’s Pink Jersey and their own pink/blue Rapha swirl they teamed up with skate brand Palace and went to town. They produced an ‘away kit’ with flames on the sleeve; weird optical magic eye colour scheme; a duck…they did not hold back.
You loved it or hated it.
A walking, talking, pedalling Twitter poll.
Turning up in Italy, land of cycling tradition, for the team presentation at the Giro, the most reverent of the Grand Tours, was for the stuffy traditionalists a sign that the barbarians weren’t so much as at the gate as through it and busily ticking off a to-do list of calculated marauding. Probably didn’t help that EF are Americans.
The men in suits, taking this jersey as a threat to their sport, their country, and the morality of their children, exercised what power they could and fined EF on a technicality.
Rules dictate that jersey design can be submitted to race organisers without sponsor logos in place, just as long as all the ‘design elements’ are there. EF submitted an original duck-free design and officials said: “HA!…this duck is a missing design element and we will fine you, Americans!”
“I think you’ll find the duck is part of the sponsor logo,” said EF.
“No it isn’t…” said the race organisers.
“Yes it is…”
“No it isn’t…”
Some important, accomplished people arguing about a duck. This went on for a while.
EF eventually coughed up the fine. $4,000. Presumably because the transatlantic phone bill was starting to rack up and negate the huge marketing success of their left-field kit design. “You guys are always looking out for the best interests of the sport, aren’t ya?” said team boss Jonathan Vaughters, by way of sarcastic (public) sign off.
The end result of all this?
The TOTAL compliance of their recently launched EF Education-Nippo 2021 Jersey. SO complaint they included their actual workings for the avoidance of doubt. Each element framed by meticulous measurement markings. Funny, clever, and STILL the best-looking jersey in the pro peloton.
It would be nice to think that the UCI (the sport’s governing body) has a sense of humour. A little hat tip is surely in order, to say: “Haha, touché, Americans…that duck thing was all a little bit silly wasn’t it, you have entertained us all with your irreverent humour.”
I will keep checking the UCI Twitter feed. It’s possible they’re very busy. Maybe they are saving the banter until a crack team of experts, checking the workings to verify the compliance of the most complaint jersey yet produced, have reported back.
Just in case EF have sneaked through some non-compliance under cover of total, transparent, compliance.
(Main Image: Fair Use via https://www.efprocycling.com/designed-to-disrupt-created-to-comply/)