Jan 11, 2019

CH-CH-CHANGES. THE PRO PELOTON CAROUSEL

  • Christmas Relaxation
  • Richie Porte
  • Fernando Gaviria
  • Caleb Ewan
  • Chlorodont team and toothpaste
  • The Linda McCartney team
  • Pelforth Ale

There’s nothing quite like a Christmas break for switching off from work. Heading back into work refreshed and ready to take on a new year at a new weight division (I always thought Cruiserweight suited me better). The biggest problem is trying to remember how to do your job and which tasks you left unfinished before conga-ing into a festive haze. In the cycling industry this January confusion is magnified by the ever changing landscape of the pro peloton. With new kits to recognise, new headline sponsors to decipher and suite of transfers to catch up on it’s like someone shuffled the deck just to make it harder to keep up.

Nearly 30% of the World Tour riders have moved teams for 2019, not including the 16 riders from the now defunct BMC who had to find new homes. Of those BMC boys you now to need to remember that Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis has swapped red for red in the shape of Trek Segafredo and Bahrain-Merida respectively. Ben Swift has made a swift return to Team Sky whilst Sergio Henao goes in the other direction, joining Wolf Pack sprinter Fernando Gaviria at Team UAE. With Caleb Ewan taking Andre Greipel’s spot at Lotto Soudal. It feels like a round on The Generation Game with a cash prize for every transfer you can repeat back to Larry Grayson.

riders had to pledge to maintain a veggie diet whilst under contract

Gorilla has moves to Pro-Continental team Arkéa Samsic, formerly Fortuneo Samsic, which World Tour teams have new monikers for us to remember? Thankfully there are few changes this year with the all conquering Belgian outfit shifting Quick Step to secondary sponsor in place of windows company Deceuninck. Nice and easy to remember and handy to know they can take care of all your home renovation needs. BMC and Sprandi have had a merger of sorts and become CCC whilst Lotto-Jumbo become Jumbo-Visma. An alluring mix of supermarket chain and cloud based accounting system. All these sponsors become household names without us ever wondering who they are. Why is it the world of cycling has such a broad selection of industries as sponsor?

Until the mid 1950s all sponsorship of teams was strictly limited to cycling businesses, but this changed when the post-war cycling boom diminished in 1954. When bike company Ganna told their top riders they couldn’t meet their obligations, they simply made Nivea the new title sponsor. The cosmetic company already had a connection with the team as suppliers of face cream for the softening of chamois in their cycling shorts. In 1962 the legendary Raphaël Geminiani signed French aperitif St. Raphaël as his title sponsor, starting a long line of sponsorship within cycling from alcohol brands. In fact in the 1960s, when European laws forbade advertising in sports for alcohol and tobacco brands, title sponsorship became a successful alternative.

In the 1980s the Boule d’Or team couldn’t ride the Tour de France when Belgium allowed tobacco advertising but France didn’t. They simply found a chocolatier of the same name and transferred the team there. The French Ale, Pelforth, sponsored Jan Janssen during his most prolific period, with one of his team mates remarking that the drink was “bloody good stuff too”. Fausto Coppi famously rode for the black and white stripes of Carpano, an Italian vermouth of equally esteemed repute.


Food products have found regular place in cycling too, with Linda McCartney’s vegetarian foods taking a significant place in the history of UK cycling. The riders had to pledge to maintain a veggie diet whilst under contract. Less of a treat but perhaps more practical than agreeing to the same to ride for Baratti & Milano in 1961, makers of chocolate and a delicious hazelnut spread. Other food based teams included Italian teams Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé, a consortium of Trentino cheese makers and Ghigi, the famous pasta maker of the 50s and 60s. You might need something to cook them in courtesy of Inoxpran who made pots and pans whilst Battaglin won the Vuelta and Giro in for their team the late 70s / early 80s.

With all this food, drink and cigarettes a switch to Chlorodont might be in order. The German toothpaste was headline sponsor when Gastone Nencini won the 1960 Tour de France. If you need to keep a note of all these glorious products, what better than a Bic biro. The French team had great success in the 1960s and 1970s with the likes of Jacques Anquetil and Luis Ocaña.

So what about today, how many of the World Tour team sponsors are familiar? From taps and showers to shampoo and telephone networks – we know the names but not the companies. But what’s the most important, the name or how they look. I know what I’m more interested in, so lets have a quick run down of the new kits for 2019.

With CCC’s orange and four teams going for red, it’s going to be a warm hued peloton this year. We’re glad to see AG2r staunchly sticking with brown despite all reason and logic. There’s some classic kits to enjoy from Deceuninck-Quick Step, Lotto Soul and Trek Segafredo and a return to form for Team Sky after a few years of dodgy kits. EF Education First have teased us with a black version of their new Rapha kit whilst several teams opt for minimal or no change at all.

So as you start getting your head around the new riders, teams and kits don’t forget there’s more change to come from us as the cycling season warms up. New designs, new colours of the Club range and new products all coming for this year. Don’t miss out, sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop.