Colnago hits back at 'unsubstantiated' claims from Tom Boonen, invites him to test the bike

 A close up image of Tadej Pogacar's new Colnago Prototipo bike
A close up image of Tadej Pogacar's new Colnago Prototipo bike

Italian bike manufacturer Colnago has issued a statement rebuffing recent disparaging claims about the brand from retired Classics specialist Tom Boonen and fellow retired pro, Dirk De Wolf, inviting the pair to Italy to test the Colnago V4Rs bike for themselves.

Colnago's CEO Nicola Rosin stated: "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. 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."

Colnago challenged Boonen and De Wolf to test their latest bike after comments made on the Sporza Wielerclub Wattage podcast last week. De Wolf claimed that if UAE Team Emirates' two-time Tour de France winner, Tadej Pogačar, were riding aboard the Cervélo, Specialized, or Pinarello bikes of Jumbo-Visma, Soudal-QuickStep or Ineos Grenadiers, he'd be "decisively faster".

Boonen meanwhile positioned Colnago outside of an arbitrary top five list of bike brands, stating "there is still a lot of difference between a top five and a top 10 or 15," before later adding that "Colnago is catching up, but it's still an old-school bike, and they haven't quite mastered that super-hyper-aero stuff yet."

Colnago has called the claims "unsubstantiated" and extended an invitation to Boonen and his colleagues to visit the Colnago headquarters at Colnago's expense to try the brand's new V4Rs race bike, followed by a 'public conversation' about the data that lead to De Wolf claiming, as translated by Sporza, a 2km/h speed difference between Colnago and its peers.

Colnago also highlighted the publication of their whitepaper relating to the V4Rs bike, which outlines the various aerodynamics and stiffness tests undertaken by the brand and how its results compare to the brand's outgoing bike, the V3Rs.

In that same whitepaper, Pogačar himself is quoted as saying: "For sure the Colnago V4Rs is more stiff and more responsive. When you stand up you feel a better response, better reacting [sic]. For sure this helps in the peloton in the fast races and when attacking and sprinting. This was for me the biggest change from the V3Rs."

Pogačar has ridden aboard Colnago bikes throughout his entire professional career. He earned the brand its first-ever Tour de France victory in 2020, before doubling their joint tally the following year.

Founder Ernesto Colnago sold the brand to an Abu Dhabu investment firm in 2020, sparking  a number of new high-profile product launches. This includes the V4Rs race bike and the TT1 time trial bike – both of which are used by its two sponsored teams – and most recently the Allroad version of the C68.

The UAE Team Emirates and the UAE Team AQD teams both saw significant equipment changes this winter, with Campagnolo being dropped in favour of Shimano groupsets and Enve wheels, with Pirelli tyres replaced with Continental.

Despite the clear focus on equipment, Rosin says that both of its sponsored teams are happy with their partnership and the Colnago bikes provided.

"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."