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The blue mystery unravelled. Why the Belgians are not contesting the World Championships in red

At a world championship, participants distinguish themselves by wearing country-specific jerseys that refer to the colours of the national flag or to the typical colour of their country. Think of the orange jersey of the Dutch national team or the azure of Italy. The Belgian national cycling team is an exception with its blue jerseys. There is no blue to be seen on our national flag and yet 'our' cycling selection has been racing in this colour for more than half a century. KOERS investigated and reconstructed the why of this cycling vestigial mystery.

It is a striking observation. Unlike other national sports teams, the Belgian cycling selection does not dress in red. This means that the national cycling team cannot place itself in the same league as the Red Devils/Red Flames (football), the Red Lions/Red Panthers (hockey) or the Belgian Lions/ Belgian Cats (basketball). Because of the blue main colour, Van Aert and co. cannot connect to derivatives such as the Yellow Tigers (volleyball) or the Black Devils (rugby) who allude to the national tricolour. Until 1946, there was a link. The Belgian team competed in the World Championships in black, and then in 1948 they switched to a blue jersey. This change is rooted in the Belgian Tour adventures before and shortly after the Second World War.

After racing in white for one year, the Belgian team appeared for the first time in blue at the start of a World Championship in 1948. Over the years, the national jersey has changed design several times.

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