Colnago opens 'historic' flagship store in Abu Dhabi... but there's no sign of Ernesto
Tadej Pogačar and UAE cycling royalty launch the 10,000 sq ft shop with a world-first Colnago cafe, but apparently without the 90-year-old founder
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Colnago has opened a flagship store in Abu Dhabi, strengthening the UAE’s ties with cycling further still. The gulf state currently sponsors the WorldTour UAE Emirates team as well as hosting an annual stage race, the UAE Tour (opens in new tab).
Ernesto Colnago sold a majority share of his company to an Abu Dhabi investment fund (opens in new tab), Chimera Investments LLC, in 2020. At the time he said the move "will allow the brand to grow "and increase its presence in all markets, whilst maintaining and improving the quality of Colnago products."
Later that year Ernesto Colnago presented Tadej Pogačar with a yellow bike for the final stage of the Tour de France, the first time the Italian brand had won the Grande Boucle.
But since then, the lack of his signature on the top tube of the new Colnago C68 (opens in new tab), launched earlier this year, along with a cryptic message on Instagram in which he said he was “not signing projects that do not belong to me”, have led Colnago fans to speculate that the brand is moving ever further from its roots in Cambiago, Italy.
That said, the 10,000 square foot Colnago store, which is located on Hudayriyat Island, is something of an ode to one of cycling's most legendary brands. Across two floors you can check out the latest line-up of bikes, including the C68 and the VR3s, enjoy a variety of Italian dishes while watching key races on the big screen in the first ever Colnago Caffé and peruse an exhibition of historic Colnago models.
The store also offers bike fitting, technological installations that reconstruct the history of Colnago bikes and works of art designed by the Spanish interior architect Pablo Paniagua.
Hudayriyat Island is home to 40km of cycle paths and Colnago hope that the opening of its store will contribute to the island becoming a “reference point for all cycling fans” within the city.
The opening event saw the red carpet rolled out for cycling royalty, including UAE Team Emirates main man Tadej Pogačar, and its Spanish young gun Juan Ayuso, as well as stalwarts Matteo Trentin and Joao Almedia.
Pogačar won both the 2019 and 2020 Tour de France aboard a Colnago as well as the last Monument of this season, Il Lombardia. His victories have added to the Italian marque’s staggering number of victories, which currently stands at 18 Olympic Gold Medals, 63 World Championships, 23 Grand Tours and 41 Classic Monuments, arguably making it the most successful bike in the world.
Colanago’s CEO Nicola Rosin was also in attendance and believes that the opening of Colnago Abu Dhabi is a timely one, as both the city and its enthusiasm for cycling grows.
"As an organisation that prides itself in creating superior experiences through expertly crafted bicycles, the launch of our new store in Abu Dhabi represents another significant milestone in our journey at Colnago as we continue to build the brand worldwide,” he said.
“Colnago is more than a bicycle brand and this store has been carefully planned and designed to showcase the best of Colnago’s products and our rich heritage that we are proud of while offering distinctive hospitality experiences. We hope having this physical space in a city that is growing rapidly will help meet the needs of cycling enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi, enabling them to experience first-hand the products that have made us the ace of cycling.”
For more information visit colnago.com (opens in new tab)
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Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well an regular road and gravel rider.
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