Slipstream Sports formally unveiled the 2018 Team EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale kit at the Rouleur Classic in London on Friday afternoon. Swedish road champion Kim Magnusson donned the race kit, created by apparel, eye and helmet partner POC, on stage alongside Slipstream Sports founder and CEO Jonathan Vaughters, sport director Andreas Klier and POC’s head of sports marketing Sara Laurell.
Long-time fans of the American-registered squad will note the distinctive argyle pattern for which Vaughters’ team has become known is retained in the kit design, featured in the green band on the jersey sleeve and bib cuffs. New for the 2018 season is the distinctive pink of incoming title partner EF Education First.
“When we began the kit design process with our team partners we started by studying the peloton,” said EF Education First worldwide creative director Joel Hladecek. “It became clear pretty early on that we’d need to do something very bold to help the team cut through the visual clutter. Fortunately, EF has spent five decades opening the world through education, understanding and uniting people across borders and cultures, and giving them the tools to communicate.”
“From a design perspective, we’ve learned a thing or two about capturing peoples’ attention, no matter where they are in the world,” Hladecek added. “It’s one of the reasons we’ve come to use a shocking, disruptive pink as part of our brand. It’s universally exciting and always demands attention. We decided to employ the strength of that color as a primary element in the design of the team kit. But as you can see there is a lot more going on in the new kit design than shocking pink.”
“From the inception of the team, we’ve always tried to push the boundaries of design and color,” said Slipstream Sports CEO and founder Jonathan Vaughters. “This kit is no exception. It is bold. But don’t lose track of the subtle argyle we’ve included. It’s been over a decade of argyle, and we are happy that will continue.”
The race jersey features the characteristic two-tone paneling and the lines of POC. A white panel dominates the front of the jersey below a smaller pink panel. From the back of the jersey, the reverse holds true, with the pink panel commanding the majority of the real estate and enhancing the bold contrast for safety and visibility. Black shorts feature the Drapac, Cannondale, New Balance and POC logos.
“It was a pleasure to work with our new friends and the partnership group at Slipstream Sports, including Drapac, Cannondale and POC, whose teams each contributed valuable components to the final design, and together, really did something uncommon,” said Hladecek. “Normally, the challenge when designing a kit like this is that you have many partners all vying for attention, each with their own design constraints and demands. I’m quite proud that this group came together and harmonized our brands in a way that make this kit feel considered and intentional. In some way I think our solution is what we would have done with complete freedom, and that says a lot.”
In addition to the race kit, a specific training kit for 2018 was introduced at the Rouleur Classic. The training kit, which has a noticeably different color palette, adds further security for riders during training rides, especially when they are out on public roads.
Commenting on the new kit, POC CEO Jonas Sjögren, said: “The new race and training kit, which we have designed with our team partners, focuses on the importance of visibility. Contrast paneling and the use of specific colors is a reflection of our commitment to rider safety during a race or training rides on open roads. In particular, the panel design and lines on the rear of the jersey improve the perception and recognition distance of a rider by creating a recognizable profile further away.”
“Ever since we released our first road specific collection, AVIP, in 2014 we have been vocal advocates for enhanced rider safety through innovative technology and visibility, we are proud to work with a WorldTour team which operates in a unique, high-performance environment,” Sjögren added. “The experience and feedback we gain from the riders is an important tool which allows us to continually improve, innovate and refine our award-winning products and further support our safety mission.”
The 2018 season is the fifth season that Slipstream Sports has partnered with POC. From 2014 – 2016, POC supplied Slipstream Sports with helmets and eyewear. From 2017, POC became the official apparel partner, supplying all apparel and accessories in addition to helmets and eyewear.
“POC is always ahead of the curve, whether it be with safety or with design,” said Vaughters.” We couldn’t be prouder of helping them introduce the future, today.”
Ahead of the official launch at the Rouleur Classic, a trio of Team EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale riders sported the new colors in Japan ahead of the ASO Sanitama Criterium. Simon Clarke and Rigoberto Uran could be seen in the race kit while Tom Van Asbroeck showed off the new training look. On Saturday, Nate Brown will ride in the 2018 race kit while hosting his charity ride in Tennessee.