Some of the most familiar and iconic jerseys in the peloton will be changing in 2021.
Evolution in team names is nothing new within professional cycling. After all, cycling is the rare sport that the sponsor name is also the team name. It’s not Cycling Club Manchester; it’s Ineos Grenadiers.
Next season will see a host of new-look jerseys in the peloton as a raft of new title sponsors are coming into the sport, with a few familiar names exiting.
At least six WorldTour teams will have new names in 2021.
Some are already confirmed, with Ag2r-La Mondiale becoming Ag2r-Citroën. Astana adds Premier Tech to its moniker with the arrival of the Canadian company, while Mitchelton-Scott will see a new name in 2021 with a new bike sponsor Bianchi taking over for the exiting Scott. McLaren is expected to step down as co-sponsor at Bahrain, while NTT has morphed into Qhubeka-Assos as the team brings on the Swiss clothing line that will keep the team in the WorldTour.
CCC Team folds this month, with Wanty Group taking over the WorldTour license.
The Belgian outfit confirmed Thursday a three-year deal with grocery store chain Intermarché stepping up as title sponsor as the team moves into the UCI WorldTour in 2021.
Its new name? Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.
“Thanks to the takeover of Continuum Sports [holding company of CCC], we were able to reach a new sportive milestone in the history of our team,” said team general manager Jean-François Bourlart. “I’m very happy to be able to rely on the support of Intermarché for the next three seasons. I want to thank all our historical partners, among whom Circus. They will disappear from the team name, but the next years they stay a solid partner.”
There are plenty of other changes across the peloton enough to make the head spin.
Longtime stalwart Boels-Dolmans morphs into SD Worx, and moves into the women’s WorldTour in 2021. Liv Racing rolls on in 2021 but loses the CCC branding colors following the Polish shoemaker’s dramatic exit from cycling.
In the ProTeam ranks, B&B loses Vital Concept as co-sponsor, while EOLO-Kometa swaps out its Spanish license for an Italian license as the team steps up from the continental ranks to the ProTour for 2021.
If that’s not enough, teams are allowed to change jerseys mid-season for the arrival of new partners. So just when everyone was getting used to the change from Team Sky to Team Ineos in 2019, the name morphed to Ineos Grenadiers before the start of the 2020 Tour de France.
The best marketing coup of 2020 involved a jersey tweak, when EF Pro Cycling uncorked cycling’s most iconoclastic jersey in decades with its partnership with Palace skateboards for a dazzling, one-off look during the Giro d’Italia.
The turn of every season marks a great time for memorabilia collectors, as new sponsors mean new jerseys and team colors. The changing kaleidoscope is part of the allure and history of the sport.
It’s rare for a team name to remain unchanged for long. Teams like Cofidis, which has been the team’s title sponsor since 1997, are the exception rather than the rule.