The international pro cycling calendar is in full swing. The Tour of Italy has began. The Tour of California, the biggest race in the United States, begins May 15. The Tour de France, the sport's pinnacle race, begins on the first weekend in July.

It's the sport's peak annual time, which is also perfect timing for a new cycling book, The Art of the Jersey: A celebration of the cycling racing jersey.

Written by Andy Storey, a journalist who works in the cycling apparel industry, the book details arguably the most important non-competitive components of the sport — the riders' jerseys.

Pro cycling teams are sponsored by companies that get exposure from their logos emblazoned of riders’ skinsuit-tight jerseys. Some companies opt for a subtle approach with low-key decisions. Other sponsors prefer the overt look — the louder the color scheme, the better and the most exposure for the jersey.

Jerseys from then, now

The book features more than 200 racing jerseys from the past 40 years, some woolen, others constructed of from current high-tech materials. Each jersey is complemented with text about famous rider or team that wore the jersey.

Remember the jersey from Team Z that Greg LeMond wore during the 1990 Tour de France? How about arguably the most famous cycling jersey in history, the 1997 Brooklyn Chewing Gum woolen outfit?

It was worn by Roger De Vlaeminck of Belgium, the four-time winner of Paris-Roubaix, the iconic one-day race held on numerous sections of cobblestones.

The Motorola/Eddy Merckx team jersey from 1993 is featured as are the 1994 Peugeot/Michelin Shall Checkerboard jersey and the 1995 La Vie Claire/Radar/Wonder jersey.

The spectrum of jerseys includes iconic retro design worn by Tour de France winners to stunning specialist items and hard-to-find collectors’ jerseys.

Some cycling jersey art is ugly

While many of the jerseys featured are iconic and known universally by cycling fans, also included are dubious designs. Some jerseys and shorts were downright ugly, leading to the question: What was the designer thinking and how could a team have approved it?

In addition to the varied designs, pro riders comment of their team attire and so do insiders from the major brands.

The Art of the Jersey (IBN: 978-1-78472-166-4), distributed by Hachette Group, is 224 pages is hardcover and is priced at $24.99 It’s available via and other major retailers.