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ToC Fashion Power Poll!

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Thanks to Lyne's/Podium In Sight's Tour of Cali start list with graphics, I can finally get a good look at who's wearing what this year. Perhaps I should save this type of post for a full pro tour lineup, but what the hell, it's February, and there's no law that says we can't do it again. So here is your Official Podium Cafe Tour of California Fashion Preview!

On the flip...

And the judges say...

1. Fly v Australia/Successful Living

A major upset for the Aussie newcomer to the peloton runway! I'm sticking my neck way out here, because it appears the new kits have yet to be seen on the road, but fashion and drama go hand-in-hand, so no points deducted there. Anyway, the main color looks like a WWII era aircraft carrier, a decidedly neutral canvas on which they've laid some subtle colors. For originality, gold medal.

2. AG2R

This kit says "let's have fun," which is probably a good approach for the team, given the alternatives. Of course, "fun" can quickly devolve into "stupid," but this one stops well short. The two shades of blue against the yellow and white make the look especially clean. Very summer-by-the-sea. Chapeau!

3. Rock Racing

I should probably recuse myself after RR sent me a free kit (the best quality cycling clothes I've ever seen), but this is fashion, not national security. I like the alternate colors better, but in general the design has really grown on me, and contains more nice subtle touches in a single square inch than the entire history of Dutch cycling designs.

4. Garmin

I'm still resisting the argyle, but the color balance just keeps getting better and better. Dropping the black/white/blue was a good choice, something another 17 or so teams might want to consider. Points deducted for the skinsuit, a cheesy white vest with gold sleeves, which looks more "aging mobster" than "peloton chic".

5. Columbia

Another kit that is quickly growing on me. I do like the mechanical anatomy lines, and the colors, while simple, are at least distinct. They also work well with things like national and world championship design overlays.

6. Bissell

I had them a slot or two higher at first, then deducted a point for oversimplicity. But the basic red-black-white looks nice, especially if they use the solid grey on the chest. A theme here: grey is the new black.

7. Saxo Bank

I was never a huge CSC kit fan, so when red was replaced by a metallic blue fade, I thought they were on to something. But the balance isn't very good, and the blue kind of disappears. It's still a nice, clean look but too much black and white.

8. Colavita

The classic Colavita kit, the tricolore swoosh around the olive oil logo, was always a little too heavy on the green and light on the red. Problem solved. I love the logo too. But big deductions for the hideous green/black shorts.

9. Cervélo

If they have to do another basic black look (and won't that be fun on Mont Ventoux in July?) at least Cervélo makes good use of the stylish oversized "é" logo. It's pretty standard fare after that. Good for evening wear.

10. Jelly Belly

Things are dropping off quickly here, but I'll give the Jelly Belly look some props. It harkens back to the old Mapei floating cubes, a cute (if borderline garish) cycling tradition of having little objects flying around. Not horrible, which is where we're headed quickly...

11. Quick Step

Is there anything more boring than the Lefevre approach to the calendar: loading up on cobbled classics races before going to sleep for another 11 months? Yes: their kits.

12. Type 1

Maybe I'm being a little harsh here, you could talk me up a few places, but I think the newcomers need to learn a cycling fashion lesson: don't try too hard. The purple with the Liquigas-green looks like a bad ski fashion from the early 90s. The error is compounded by abruptly cutting off the purple fade with all-white short fronts. Not working for me.

13. Astana

Oy, bad 1950s eastern European flag fashions. Given what they had to work with, Team Astana's designers do some triage, though curvy body lines are hardly revolutionary. For once, I'd have gone with more white, or more of any option besides the awful baby-aqua/yellow crap.

14. Liquigas

Daniele Bennati may be good looking, but is it necessary to dress him up like a frickin popsicle? This look was fun for a year or so, but no more.

15. Ouch

I'm trying to come up with a gut reaction to the orange and red on black, and I keep coming back to "Thanksgiving cornucopia." Ouch, indeed.

16. BMC

I've been calling this look (assuming it's unchanged, which is not clear) a club kit, but it's actually worse than a club kit: it's Bike Nashbar off-the-rack generic cycling clothes. I honestly can't believe they wear this stuff.

17. Rabobank

Please make it stop...