The Jumbo-Visma New Zealand jersey designed for national champion George Bennett has been rejected by Cycling NZ.
An All Blacks-inspired jersey specially designed for new national champion George Bennett was rejected by Cycling New Zealand ahead of its unveiling at Paris-Nice next weekend.
Bennett won the right to wear his national colors on the WorldTour after winning the men’s road race at the New Zealand Championships in Cambridge earlier this month.
But his Jumbo-Visma team are scrambling to get another jersey produced in time for Paris-Nice after the black design submitted to Cycling NZ was rejected by the national organization due to an issue with its color scheme.
Cycling NZ had registered a white jersey with a black fern with the UCI before 2021, but the design proposed by Jumbo-Visma and apparel sponsor Agu was predominantly black with white sleeves and a white fern.
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If Bennett had worn the black jersey, Jumbo-Visma would have risked being sanctioned by the sport’s governing body.
“They said they wanted a white jersey with a black fern and it was a black jersey with a white fern,” Bennett said.
“But when you think of New Zealand sport, you think of the black jersey. When you go to the Olympics, they give you the black jersey.
“It’s the iconic New Zealand sport you think of and there are a lot of people who came before me who wore different jerseys.
“But at the end of the day, the national federation has to be happy with the jersey and it wasn’t, and that’s it.”
In a statement, Cycling NZ CEO Jacques Landry said it was “simply not possible or the correct process” to make fundamental changes to the jersey at the request of “a national champion”.
“We appreciate the work George and his team have done on a concept change for the New Zealand national championship jersey,” said Landry.
“Our current national championship jersey, which is a black fern on a white jersey, is registered with the UCI for 2021, so in short, it is not possible to change this registration with the year already in progress.
“We have national champions in all of our disciplines and events wearing the same jersey with the same registered design. We also provide specification guidelines to national champions and their teams if they want to replicate the jersey with their own clothing manufacturer.
Although disappointed that he couldn’t wear the black jersey, Bennett said he was still proud to race in the national colors after winning the New Zealand Championships for the first time in his career.
“Of course it’s a shame. It was a beautiful jersey. But I don’t want to take anything away from wearing the national jersey, ”said Bennett.
“I am always very proud to wear the jersey and while the Plan B jersey is definitely not that cool, it is still a beautiful jersey and I will wear it with just as much pride.”