White, blue & black: the colours of clean cycling

In 2006, everyone in the pro peloton stopped doping. We know this. This is a fact. If anybody doped after 2006, surely, it must have been because their calendars were off. Also in 2006, two new teams joined the ProTour: Milram and Ag2R. Their kit colours were both mostly white and blue. And thus it began...

Over the years, as the peloton got ever cleaner, more and more white and blue graced the roads. An additional feature came in the emergence of black, to show the cycling community they were truly, truly sorry for the sins of the past. Truly. Pinky swear and everything.

On Monday 21 January, the Tour Down Under will kick off the new World Tour season. And by The Theory of White, Blue and Black (TTWBB), it will be the cleanest season ever. EVER.

First, let's start off with some new faces. If you are new, you need to draw in new fans. What better way to do this then by showing the world you're clean? IAM Cycling totally got that message, and they made the world leap with joy with this lovely dark blue number. It would have been a 10 on the Clean Factor Scale (CFS), were it not for the red accents. Blood red accents. We do not like blood doping. Blood doping is not clean. Final CFS: 7/10.

Perhaps they got the red accent idea from Garmin, who are all blue, white, argyle and black; but with the one big red band across the chest. The red is much more prominent than in IAM's case, because with Vaughters, Dekker, Millar, Danielson, DZNuts AND Christian VDV, they can't really deny doping exists. CFS: 6.5/10.

I mean, compare that to Team Sky. The main colour is black because they're really, really sorry. Last year they had a white panel on their back, but with the entire Lancegate saga they had to be way more sorry in 2013. Ergo: no more white panel. Just black, with a few hints of cleanliness. CFS: 10/10.

Way less ashamed are FdJ. No black for them, just white and blue. After all, Lance was American and FdJ is French. Why should FdJ be ashamed for American sins? They shouldn't be. They aren't. They're blackless. White, even, if you will. But that does set them back a bit on the Clean Factor Scale. CFS: 8/10.

Raboblanco definitely got the message. With their main sponsor since, oh, forever, fleeing because of doping issues, they had to start afresh. They had to start anew. They had to show they were seriously clean. I mean, they even put the Blanco right there in the name. That's some serious TTWBB-commitment. With equal parts white, black and, of course, blue, they are right on the money with their original and daring new kit. It's a real shame they don't have any Estonians on their team. They wouldn't even have to make new champs jerseys. CFS: 10/10.

Others try to be as clean and cool as Blanco. They really do. Like OPQS for instance. They've got the white part down, but the blue isn't exactly the right repentant hue. It's a bluer shade of pale, maybe. Plus, it's sort of mixed up with all the black. Are they ashamed to be clean? Is that the message here? I'm not sure, but they don't really have this TTWBB-thing down. CFS: 5/10.

But at least it's better than Liquigas Cannondale. The Saganesque squad sensed there was something going on in the world of cycling. Something was afoot. Something was happening. But what? WHAT? No one ever else these Italians anything. So they just went ahead and ordered the same kit as ever: lime green. It's cheaper if you buy kits for multiple years in bulk you see. Also, no need to repaint the bus. And then, on a cold december morning, the Director of Fashion (it's an Italian team, surely they must have a Director of Fashion), got the TTWBB-memo. Oh, damn. What to do now? Order all new kits? But Sagan likes this shade of green! So a compromise was made: keep the old kits, and just draw on three stripes. In white, black and blue. CFS: 3/10.

Oh, and finally there is this. In 2011 Katusha switched to predominantly red kits. Two years later, they did not get a new WorldTour license. Let this be a lesson.

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