It’s been a week since the Giro d’Italia finished and once again it was a terrific spectacle. The landscape, the architecture, the weather all combined to create what is probably my favourite of the three grand tours. It’s also a great opportunity to see the Italian teams showing off their incredible sense of style. It seems that the designers of Italian team kits tend to lean more towards the Versace end of the spectrum rather than the Armani. You can keep your Bauhausian, Swiss-influenced understated boring stuff for elsewhere. Italian teams like to make a statement. Why put De Stijl on a jersey, when you can have the Sistine Chapel.
The real scandal at Vini Fantini is not why they signed serial doper Danilo DiLuca, but how they signed off on that dreadful day-glo yellow kit (maybe they knew how bad the visibility was going to be in the Alps).
Of course, Vini Fantini is sponsored by Cipollini bikes. Some of you may be aware that this is the company of retired (shy and retiring) sprinter Mario Cipollini. If not, well, here’s what Italian Style is all about:
Much like the world’s greatest 5′ 6″ goalkeeper, Jorge Campos, who would design his own kits, Super Mario expressed himself artistically through the medium of the TT skin suit:
Back to the present. Through the constant ebb and flow each year of team names and sponsors, it’s warmly reassuring to know that some things will always remain the same. That’s right, Lampre’s kit will always be fucking hideous.
I think the whole Contador ban was a ruse by the UCI to find a way to give Scarponi a Giro win because they felt so bad for him having to, in the words of Spinal Tap’s manager Ian Faith, “dress like an Australian’s nightmare” year after year.
Of course, in every artistic medium there are masterpieces that cannot be denied. So, too, in the canvas that is the team kit, there is one that has just as much genius in it as Raphael’s School of Athens, Michelangelo’s David or the Basilica of St. Peter. I refer, of course, to Marco Pantani’s Carrera kit.