Love it or hate it, EF’s Palace collaboration kit has created a huge amount of publicity for the team. At Stage 1 of Giro d’Italia the duck plastered kit caught the attention of the UCI.
The UCI, it appears, are not fans.
EF’s crimes of fashion
The entire EF Giro squad received fines at the end of the Stage 1 time trial, including Director Sportif Fabrizio Guidi. With each fine being 500 CF, it was an expensive day for the team. That adds up to 4,500 CHF in fines, just for Saturday’s stage. That’s just over CAD$6,500, converted to loonies.
With three weeks of racing remaining in Italy, it remains to be seen just how committed EF is to its splashy Palace kit. If UCI issues the same fines every day, it’ll be an expensive Giro for the U.S.-based WorldTour team. Wearing the kit for all 21 race stages would add up to a staggering 94,500 CHF in apparel-related fines alone.
EF’s riders were fined under UCI’s rule 1.12.007/1.4, or “Non-compliant clothing during podium obligations.” The rule does appear to be applied to the kit, not EF’s custom Palace painted bikes which also debut at the Giro.
While it’s not quite clear what about EF’s duck-covered Palace kit is non-compliant, it’s not the first time UCI’s taken a conservative position on racer’s apparel choices. Much of the 2019 season, and early 2020 races, included the comical spectacle of UCI commissaires using a sock-height measuring contraption to ensure riders’ socks were not too high up on their calves.
While the UCI isn’t fans, many cyclists are on EF’s side. Johnathan Vaughtners posted on Twitter that the most common response to the kit has been “Wow, this is ugly, where can I buy it?” Vaughtners was, understandably, not impressed to learn of the UCI’s response to the kit.
He responded to the fine, addressing UCI directly to say “you guys are always looking out for the best interest of the sport, aren’t ya? Thanks for the $4000 of fines for wearing our crazy ducks. Hope [UCI President] David Lappartient enjoys his dinner – on us! Salud!”
Somewhere, Jonathan Vaughtners better be standing in front of a UCI commissaire doing his best Emilio Esteves impression…