'It breaks my heart' - Tom Boonen regrets Colnago comments

 The all-Mapei and all-Colnago podium from the 1996 Paris-Roubaix
The all-Mapei and all-Colnago podium from the 1996 Paris-Roubaix

Tom Boonen has issued a statement of regret over his recent comments about Colnago bikes, publicly stating his admiration and respect for the Italian brand.

"It breaks my heart that my words were poorly chosen," Boonen wrote in a social media statement accompanied by the hashtag #meaculpa - 'my fault'.

Boonen caused a stir when he questioned the aerodynamics of Colnago's frames alongside Dirk De Wolf on a recent podcast, compiling the idea that they could be limiting two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

"Colnago is catching up, but it's still an old-school bike, and they haven't quite mastered that super-hyper-aero stuff yet," said Boonen, who indicated "a lot of difference" between bikes from the "top five" manufacturers and the rest.

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Colnago bit back with statement describing Boonen's claims as "unsubstantiated" and an invitation to the four-time Paris-Roubaix winner to travel to Italy to test the top-of-the-range V4Rs bike ahead next week.

On Friday evening, Boonen addressed the matter, issuing a statement on Instagram.

His words were accompanied by a photo of the iconic 1996 Paris-Roubaix in which three Mapei riders, all aboard Colnago C40 bikes, swept the podium side-by-side.

"When I was a young rider, I dreamed about one day winning Paris-Roubaix on a Colnago. It's a shame i never got a chance to ride one of your bikes," the Belgian wrote.

"To me Colnago stands for passion and legacy. So it breaks my heart that my words where poorly chosen when i responded to Dirks claims in our podcast. #meaculpa i have nothing but respect for the Colnago family and their brand."