Colnago is throwing down the gauntlet, after Tom Boonen made some critical remarks against the vaunted Italian brand during a recent podcast, suggesting that its bikes were not up to par with others, thus keeping two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar from reaching his full potential.
In a press release this afternoon, Colnago publicly invited Boonen, to Italy before Milan-San Remo, to ride and test its latest 2023 V4Rs road bike.
Additionally, Colnago has requested a “public conversation on the podcast’s data that lead Boonen to believe there’s a “2kph difference in performance with other brands”.
Colnago said that the data used by Boonen would then be compared with the statistics from the 2023 Colnago V4Rs “white paper”, which has been available to view since the bike’s recent launch.
According to Colnago CEO Nicola Rosin, the company has “not heard a single complaint” from either UAE Team Emirates or UAE Team ADQ relating to the bikes supplied to both.
“The performances of UAE Team Emirates are a highest level priority of Colnago. Consequently, we have invested millions of euros and a lot of time in developing their bikes,” said Colnago CEO Nicola Rosin.
“We work hand-in-hand with UAE Team Emirates and UAE Team ADQ, first to understand the demands they have for our bikes and then to ensure that what we are delivering is the absolute best available.
“We are of course in contact with the teams on a daily basis and we have not heard a single complaint about the competitiveness of our bikes. In fact, they are ecstatic about the equipment we have provided thus far.”
Boonen made the claims while discussing the quality of the top bike manufacturers in the modern pro-peloton, alongside ex-pro and winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Dirk De Wolf.
“He’d ride decisively faster on those bikes,” De Wolf said, referencing a previous quote in which he said that if Pogačar was given a bike used by Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers or Soudal Quick-Step, then his rivals wouldn’t stand a chance. “Cervélo, S-Works, Pinarello, [if he rode those,] then he would ride a few more watts faster and better.”
Pogačar’s UAE Team Emirates squad have ridden Colnago bikes since they transformed from their past incarnation as Lampre-Merida ahead of the 2017 season. Since then, while riding a bike made by the legendary Italian bike manufacturer, Pogačar has enjoyed a highly prolific career in the WorldTour picking up two Tour de France victories, two Monument wins, Tirreno-Adriatico twice and Strade Bianche amongst others.
Still, Boonen appeared to support the claim made by his fellow Belgian, calling Colnago an “old-school bike” and suggesting that the brand is not within the top five bike manufacturers today.
“I think [within] the top five of manufacturers, there is little difference [between] them,” Boonen said. “There is of course always an order to it, but indeed, there is still a lot of difference between a top five and a top 10 or 15.”
When asked if he considered Colnago outside of the top five elite brands, Boonen said: “Yes. Colnago is catching up, but it’s still an old-school bike, and they haven’t quite mastered that super-hyper-aero stuff yet.”
Despite its longstanding history which began in 1952, it’s reported that Colnago has been through difficulties in recent years. In 2020, the company’s 88-year-old founder Ernesto Colnago was forced to sell off his majority share to Abu-Dhabi-based investment fund Chimera Investments LLC.
“I’m convinced that Colnago will grow, but they’ve only been back on track recently,” Boonen concluded. “It almost fell on its ass a few years back, and they then had to sell, because it was basically bankrupt, and then started again, but you don’t get from 0 to 100 in a year’s time in the bike industry.”
In the meantime, Pogačar has already won four times in just nine days of racing this season, all-the-while riding the new Colnago V4RS.
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