The warehouse is awash with a sea of orange and blue at the moment. We’ve just received shipment of the new 2012 Rabobank kit. Manufactured by AGU, this is some of the brightest kit you’ll see in this year’s pro peloton. Founded in 1969, AGU have come a long way from the days of tailoring suits and formal wear. Based in a country like the Netherlands you might have thought the transition into cycle clothing was a natural occurrence, however, the history of AGU is not that simple. Bear with me while we go through a short history lesson.
The Netherlands and its crazy Dutch population is the world’s number one nation for cycling in terms of cycle networks and bike safety. However, mid way through the 20th century, the Lowlands wasn’t the cycle mad country we know today. Between 1950 and 1975 the popularity of cycling had plummeted. With post war salaries on the rise all across Europe, the car began to become the choice of transport for thousands, therefore increasing the amount of traffic on the roads. This trend was picked up by the Dutch government who began to worry about the population’s dependence on the car and thus oil supplies from the then turbulent Middle East. Another major issue was road safety. With mass motorisation of the country came an increase in road traffic accidents. In an attempt to revive the populations lost love of bicycles the Dutch Department of Transport redesigned the cycling infrastructure throughout the country.
In an attempt to promote the use of this new cycling infrastructure, the Dutch Department of Transport organised a series of cycle related contests for Dutch businesses. One of these competitions was to produce rain wear suitable for use on a bike. The winner was our friends AGU, who recognised a gap in the market and began to stray away from their suit tailoring background and moved into active wear. AGU’s first range of cycling clothing revolutionised the two wheeled world with its light, breathable and subtle design allowing for rider friendly wear. This historic turn of events changed the direction of the company and AGU have been producing cycle specific clothing ever since.
Most of AGU’s products are developed by a design team who eat, sleep and breath cycling. AGU invests a lot of time and energy into the design of their products. Care and attention is taken when considering the selection of fabrics which is evident in the quality of material used for the Rabobank kit. Also, a precise and detailed approach to quality control is essential to produce some of the most reliable garments on the market.
AGU have been the official kit sponsor of Rabobank since the team’s amalgamation in 1996. A special relationship has developed between the Royal Dutch Cycling Union and the financial superpower, Rabobank, over the last 15 years helping develop some of the country’s top riding talent. Considering the rich history of cycling in the Netherlands, it’s no surprise that the Rabobank set up actually consists of four teams: a ProTeam, Continental, CX and Women’s team. With a passion for racing that’s second to none, the Dutch based set up need a kit that stands up to the demands of hard riding, whether it be on mud or tarmac. AGU has helped Rabobank to be a top ten team for the last 15 years, claiming several major Classics along the way. Renowned for developing young talent, this year is no exception with Jetse Bol and Wilco Kelderman coming up through the ranks of the Continental team and joining the ProTeam for 2012. However, the biggest signing sees Mark Renshaw pulling on the distinctive orange and blue jersey hoping to bulk up Rabobank’s sprint victory count. With out further ado, let’s have a look at the 2012 kit: