Team Sky need some good PR. After questions were raised over their zero tolerance policy on doping when it was revealed that lead rider Chris Froome was under investigation for an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at last year’s Vuelta, there is still uncertainty surrounding the team, even after a solo break saw Froome ride into the Giro’s maglia rosa with just two stages to go – the Brit going on to complete a career Grand Tour triple in Rome last Sunday (26 May).
But even if their credibility is still in up in the air with the salbutamol case still yet to be resolved, their PR team are doing their best to the win hearts and minds of cycling fans and the general public around the world through the team’s Tour de France kit.
The British WorldTour team have partnered with Sky Ocean Rescue and are pledging to remove all single-use plastic (SUP) packaging from its business operations by 2020. Currently eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans each year, and by 2050 it is predicted that, unless this drastically changes, the plastic in the ocean will weigh more than all the fish.
As well as reducing its use of SUP, the collaboration will see Team Sky riders try to raise awareness of the cause through the wearing of #PassOnPlastic jerseys for this year’s Tour de France. The team’s kit manufacturer Castelli has designed the front of the jersey to look like the markings of an orca, with the distinctive whale also featuring on the jersey’s back.
“Sky Ocean Rescue has been at the forefront of a global campaign on single-use plastics over the last year – and it is making a real difference,” said Team Sky team principal Sir Dave Brailsford. “Like all parts of society, cycling must do more to reduce its reliance on single-use plastic at every level. The nature of our sport means we have a special responsibility to the environment and at Team Sky we want to take a lead.
“At the upcoming Tour de France, the Team will be wearing a striking new kit design to highlight the issue to a global audience of millions.
“We want to encourage people across the world to think about their own use of plastic and make changes in their everyday life. We are all in a position where we can make a difference.”
Team Sky riders will also wear a bespoke version of the jersey developed solely from ocean plastic material at the team presentation and at any podium ceremonies. This has yet to be revealed by the team, but we’re sure if Chris Froome is allowed to race that it will be seen quite a few times at this summer’s Tour.