A blast from the past – Team kits from yesteryear!

From formal clothing to sports wear in no time
Winter "Transformers" fashion of 1929 (Nationaal Archief)

As we do our annual review of the pro-team kits for 2012 I can’t help but wonder what the bike nostalgics of future generations will think when looking back to today’s pro cyclist. Corporate billboards, cheap spandex, annual turnover and totally disposable. Call me nostalgic if you want, but… weren’t those classic sports-suits great? Ah, the good old days. You know, those golden times when “sports wear” hadn’t yet become synonymous with a one-piece, silver skinsuit! These “2 in 1” designs are so simple, they are almost naive. And yet, there’s so much charm and elegance to them. That lady looks ready to jump onto her bike, win the cross town race and then go for a tea and some stroopwafels. Really, imagine how crazy-strong she must be if she’s going to hand you your ass while wearing a pair of convertible breeches!

I came across this picture in the Flickr account for the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. They have an impressive photographic collection of more than 2 million photographies, 500,000 of which have already been digitalized and are available at low resolutions if you contact them through their site.

Apart from glimpses into the fashionistas’ choices of  foregone eras, you can find this small collection of old photos from the Tour de France as part of their Flickr photostream. Some of my favorite shots include this one of the finish line for the very first edition of the Tour, in 1903:

The finish line of the first Tour (Nationaal Archief)
The finish line of the first Tour (Nationaal Archief)

This classic shot of a fellow countryman, Ezquerra (is he really wearing aviator googles?!!?):

Ezquerra in the mountains (National Archief)
Ezquerra in the mountains (National Archief)

And this devastating image of Giusto Cerruti – riders were definitely more stylish back then, but they also had it harder!

No help for Giusto Cerutti (National Archief)
No help for Giusto Cerutti (National Archief)
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