The Pinnacle of Cycling? Oof.

It’s mid-February and the professional racing season is nearly upon us. I say nearly because, though there have been a handful of races already, nobody really cares about them. Flat race across a desert with nobody at the finish line except the officials? Hoooo, boy. Sign me up!

If nothing else, the early season races are good for seeing exactly what each team will be wearing for the upcoming campaign. As always, some are better than others. And, as always, some are so god-awful they look your local club team’s “Photoshop expert” got hold of them.

I’ll detail the top 5 and bottom 5. You can assume that the teams in the middle are so boring they deserve only a cursory mention.

Top 5

Ag2R La Mondiale — Hey, I’m as surprised as you. Yes, this is the team with the brown shorts. But it also has a great color scheme — brown, white and blue work very, very well together. And about the brown shorts: Is it any worse than red, really? Or blue with orange tiger stripes? Or pink? No, it’s not.

RadioShack Nissan TrekSure, it’s a mash-up of the good-looking Leopard Trek team and the only OK-looking Team RadioShack, but the results are pretty solid. It’s still a clean look, though I could have done without the RadioShack wordmark jammed into the red stripe. But hey, bonus points for a sweet bike.

Team SkyBlack and white and blue. You’re going to see a trend coming up, but these guys are the ones who started it. Over the past two-plus seasons, this has been the Team Sky look, and it hasn’t changed a bit. There’s a lot to be said for being consistent. Plus, the black and white of the scheme looks awesome with Mark Cavendish’s rainbow stripes and Bradley Wiggins’ British champion’s kit.

Liquigas-Cannondale — Score another one for consistency. Though it’s bright as all get out, it’s a classic pro cycling look. Somehow.

Rabobank — The only thing that changes in the Rabobank kit is the pattern of the orange, blue and white color swaths. That’s what you should expect from the Dutch. Loud — but consistently loud.

Bottom 5

Omega Pharma-Quick Step — Two teams are jammed together once again. Omega-Pharma and Quick Step celebrated their union by essentially recreating the Leopard Trek kit from last season. Score one for creativity!

Team Astana — Yep, still awful. Baby blue and yellow. Sure, why not?

Lampre ISDHot pink and blue. Can you tell they’re Italian?

Team Katusha — Sure, the Russians buck the blue trend with red, but that … that’s a lot of red. Wow.

Vacansoleil-DCM — Somehow, they made one of 2011′s ugliest kits worse. And to top it off, they get new Bianchi Oltre bikes. That’s not the bad part — the bad part is that they’re not even done up in team colors. Where everybody else has a total “look” going, these guys look like they stole bikes from Jan Ullrich’s one-and-done 2003 Bianchi team.

Everybody else

Garmin-BarracudaBlue and white and black. Boring. Argyle hasn’t been cool since 2009, anyway.

BMCRed is eye-catching. But when combined with dark red and black it’s less so.

Euskaltel EuskadiOrange and black. Always with the orange and black. And those helmets are god-awful.

FDJ BigMatWhite and blue, yes, but at least the red part of it means it’s French. And that’s something, I guess.

GreenEDGE — They played it safe, that’s for sure. See that splash image behind this link? It’s RadioShack Nissan Trek with green instead of blue.

Lotto Belisol — I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about this one. No, it’s not awesome. This model is probably the problem.

Movistar — If you swapped the bright green helmet for a navy or white one, I’d be on board. But this? No.

Saxo Bank — How do you feel about blue? And birds?

These guys are as good as it gets in the pro cycling world. They should be dressed accordingly. But, unfortunately, they’re not. That said, wearing what we wear, you have to expect to look a bit ridiculous anyway, don’t you?

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