Explainer: Can Astana change its kit mid-race?

Under a strict interpretation of UCI rules, teams are only allowed to ride with “a single design for clothing (colours and layout) which may not be altered for the duration of the calendar year.” However, teams have made changes in the past, with the prior approval of the UCI. The UCI approved, for example, the Discovery team’s switch to a green-themed team kit for the 2007 Tour de France, a change designed to highlight an initiative undertaken by its title sponsor.

By Charles Pelkey

The UCI was cool with this change...

The UCI was cool with this change…

Photo: Graham Watson

Under a strict interpretation of UCI rules, teams are only allowed to ride with “a single design for clothing (colours and layout) which may not be altered for the duration of the calendar year.”

However, teams have made changes in the past, with the prior approval of the UCI. The UCI approved, for example, the Discovery team’s switch to a green-themed team kit for the 2007 Tour de France, a change designed to highlight an initiative undertaken by its title sponsor.

 ... but found, somehow, that Cipo' and crew were over the top. (Go figure)

… but found, somehow, that Cipo’ and crew were over the top. (Go figure)

Photo: AFP

The UCI has also quickly approved mid-season jersey designs when sponsorship issues arise, the most notable example of which is the 2006 transition from Liberty Seguros-Würth to Würth and finally to Astana, when that team’s future fell into doubt following the first round of Operación Puerto allegations.

The governing body has, however, frowned on more extravagant examples, including the Saeco team’s decision to ride a stage of the 1999 Tour in gold-highlighted white jerseys. The team was fined, but riders were allowed to ride in the unusual kit.

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