For most riders, getting a new set of cycling kit is something worth celebrating. You might have had your eye on a particular design for a while, perhaps you needed to update your wardrobe to keep up with the latest trends, or maybe your old kit was simply falling apart. Either way, ‘new kit day’ doesn’t tend to come around all that often and when it does, it usually brings just one or two items.
That is unless you’re a professional rider.
Kit sponsors supply team clothing in quantities that would have most amateur riders going light-headed at the thought of so much free kit. So how much do they actually get? And does that amount differ between teams at a WorldTour and ProContinental level? And what about in the women’s ranks? To find out we’ve asked a few industry insiders and a few professional riders themselves.
The Tinkoff racing team has made headlines in the past couple off-seasons for providing its riders with distinctive winter training kit — kit that differs greatly from the regular-season training and racing gear. This is nothing new outside the world of cycling — home and away kits and a training kit are de rigueur in most ball sports. But within cycling, Tinkoff’s use of different kits is something slightly novel.
Unlike with standard team kit, Sportful produced a very limited run of training kit for the team. That said, the quantities would still make any amateur more than happy. Sportful communications manager Daniel Loots explains: “The training kit they got was only a few pieces of each product. They received this at the training camp. Just three types of jersey and shorts”.
Of course, it’s at the start of the year that the huge quantities of kit start to arrive on riders’ doorsteps. Most teams will provide a big delivery of items at the start of the year with top-ups throughout.
Here’s the full list of what each Tinkoff rider gets. We hope you’re sitting comfortably:
In total that’s over 240 items, for each of the 27 riders on the team. And that doesn’t include prototypes in testing that are not part of the official kit list. Other items that don’t appear on this list are jackets, pants, T-shirts, fleeces and all other off-the-bike wear. These come from Sportful’s outdoor brand Karpos.
Daniel Loots points out that for some riders there are even more items that are produced especially for them: “Some riders require a few special bits and pieces — World Champ’s kit for Sagan, special TT suits for Contador, slightly longer legs for Kreuziger etc.”.
And the list doesn’t stop there, with several bits and pieces issued to the team rather than the athletes. Podium caps, thermal transfers for leader jerseys, musettes and of course the bottle vests that caught many people’s attention when first used at the 2014 Tour de France.
Over at Lotto Soudal the team has a long-standing relationship with Belgian clothing producer Vermarc, a brand set up by ex-pro Frans Verbeeck. Last year during the Classics season we had the privilege of seeing inside the teams service course in Herentals. While there we noticed boxes of top-up kit ready to be sent out. Their main delivery is received at the start of the year.
Lotto Soudal media representative Sarah Van Dingenen was a little more tight-lipped with regards to the actual quantities that Lotto Soudal riders get, but here’s a rough idea:
Flicking through Instagram it’s easy to see that some riders get just as excited about new kit arriving as us regular folk. Australian outfit Drapac Pro Cycling has changed clothing suppliers for 2016, jumping from Champion System to Castelli. Since 2014 the team has been a UCI Professional Continental team, a tier below the big teams of the WorldTour. So how does the kit supply at a ProConti level differ from that a WorldTour level?
Drapac rider Brendan Canty was kind enough to give us a run down of exactly what he received prior to his first season as a pro. Brendan pointed out that more kit was on its way — this was purely the first delivery, a box of kit to get him through the Australian summer of cycling.
Over in the women’s peloton, the female pros might not race as many days as the men but are they still well taken care of. We spoke with rider Tiffany Cromwell and media manager Beth Duryea at the newly formed Canyon-SRAM team about this.
Here’s the run down of not just the clothing each woman on the team receives, but also other products they’re provided with as well. Tiff was quick to point out that the list below is just what was provided to get her through the Aussie summer of racing.
Another major factor that’s worth taking into account is the fact that today’s athletes are provided with items designed for specific conditions. The Gabba jersey from Castelli is a perfect example of this — a garment designed for racing in the harshest of wet weather.
Andrea Peron is an ex-pro who rode for the likes of Motorola. He now works for Castelli as a team liaison and racing performance director and he’s the perfect man to compare what riders receive today compared to in the ’90s.
“Now riders receive items for specific conditions. For instance they receive five different types of gloves. We used to get 10 different items, two different jerseys types, a thermal jersey, a jacket, a rain cape, shorts,” Peron said. “Now 65 different pieces are received by riders. The overall quantity is about the same.”
There we have it; a breakdown of what us mere mortals are missing out on when it comes to cycling kit. It’s a bit upsetting isn’t it?