Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cycling World Championship Colors: What do they mean?

   When you look around the world of cycling, it's hard to look far without seeing the familiar 5 stripes of the world championship.

UCI World Champion colors

   But what do these colors mean? The UCI World Championships are cycling events held in most cycling events:

  • Road racing
  • Track Cycling
  • Mountain Bike (cross country)
  • Observed trials
  • Mountain Bike Marathon (37 mile min)
  • Cyclo-cross
  • BMX
  • Indoor Cycling (indoor track)
  • Para-cycling Road
  • Para-cycling Track

   When a rider wins the world championship in a discipline, they get to wear the World Champion Jersey, which is the above colors (same as the olympic rings) on a white jersey:

2012 Swiss National Champion Nino Schurter

   Believe it or not, a rider is required to wear the rainbow on white throughout their reign as world champion, which lasts 1 year. And get this - not sporting your world championship jersey in a race carries a $3000 - $5000 fine!
    After a year of being champion is up, a rider is eligible to wear the world champion striping as an accent on their regular team jersey:

World champion piping

   There are all kinds of apparel and accessories that capitalizes on the popularity of the World Champion jersey colors:

Knit dress

Affinity Bicycle Co. Kissina

LEGO key rings

   And what write up would be complete without some superstitious conspiracy theories! Behold the CURSE OF THE RAINBOW JERSEY! Outlined in the book 'The Curse of the Rainbow Jersey: Cycling's Most Infamous Superstition', the curse is the suspicion that bad luck befalls the cyclist awarded the world championship jersey. There are instances of riders getting injured, having health problems, getting busted for doping, even season ending saddle sores. All this in addition to being forced to wear a big, green, yellow, black, red, and white target all season.

   So beware! The rainbow jersey is a coveted victory banner, but comes at a heavy price.

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