In 2012, Team Sky was the finest team in pro cycling. The British upstarts won the overall at Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Tour de France with Sir Bradley Wiggins. And they very nearly grabbed the win at the Vuelta a España with Tour de France runner-up Chris Froome.
For 2013, it seems they are aiming to be not just the most powerful team in the peloton, but the best-dressed one to boot. The British outfit has announced their partnership for the upcoming season with another English company, Rapha Racing Ltd. Known for its bold style (with a penchant for pink accents) and iconoclastic approach (you can always find the Rapha wagon at races by the waft of fresh-brewed espresso), the high-end apparel manufacturer has melded it’s trademark single armband look—in royal, not pink, naturally—into the otherwise austere black Sky kit. The offset blue stripe and forced-cool sans serif logo carries across jerseys, bibs, hats, belts, musette bags…you name it. And fans can purchase them all, of course. Rapha has added its signature, too, such as a blue gingham button-up with rear zip pocket and a checked cotton polo complete with royal ribbon fringe.
The Sky boys seem comfy in the new duds—and dapper we might add—as Chris Froome wrapped up his very first stage race win last week by trumping the likes of Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, and Joaquim Rodriguez at the Tour of Oman. The win reopens the discussion of team leadership, which has been festering since Froome, who appeared to be the stronger rider in last year’s Tour de France, ceded his own ambitions to the team’s goal of putting Wiggins in gold. While Wiggins has made it clear that he’s out to win the 2013 Giro, he’s also talking about doubling up at the Tour, even as Froome has stated his own ambitions to lead at the Grand Boucle. The big question then: Come July, will it be Froome or Wiggins who is unable to respond as their teammate steams away, dashing blue-striped scarf streaming in the Pyrenean wind?
Whichever the case, at least they’ll both look good.
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