It’s all the rage these days. Alessandro Petacchi has threatened to swap the maglia azzurra of the Italian national team for that of Kazakhstan after the Italian authorities raised the idea of banning those with doping convictions from representing their country. Now Grega Bole is sporting a jersey in the colours of the Dutch national champion. Only he is Slovenian.
Bole won the Slovenian road race championships last weekend in Nova Gorica. The town’s name means “New Hill” but he hasn’t got a new jersey yet. Bungling by Lampre’s kit suppliers SMS Santini means they got the design wrong and he’s in the colours more normally associated with the Dutch champ. It’s confusing some, TV commentator Paul Sherwen saw Bole during Stage 1 and mentioned “the Dutch champion” but got in a tangle because he couldn’t recognise who it was.
It’s not a big deal but all the same, if you’re not from Slovenia, try imagining how it would feel if your own country’s champion had to wear the wrong jersey because of a design accident. It’s not very pro.
In mitigation for Lampre and Santini, the Slovenian design does change. It is meant to be primarily white with blue and red, as demonstrated by Tadej Valjavec below. But last year’s title holder Gorazd Štangelj rode in an almost normal Astana jersey, where the colours were swapped from the normal Astana sky blue to the Slovenian blue and red.
Bole might not be a guy to mess with since he’s a former military world cycling champion. The good news is that a new jersey is being worked on as you read this.
Slovenia’s a fine country for riding with some good mountains sharing the infamous Monte Zoncolan with Italy. It’s a got a good, almost over-proportionate supply of pro riders. As well as Bole, you’ve got his team mate Simon Špilak, Gorazd Štangelj and guys like Jan Tratnik (Quick Step), Kristian Koren (Liquigas), Janez Brajkovič (Radioshack), Borut Bozič (Vacansoleil) and Marko Kump (Geox).
Thanks to an alert reader for bringing this to my attention.