Tom Boonen invited to test Colnago V4Rs after criticism of Tadej Pogačar's bike

Boonen and fellow ex-pro Dirk de Wolf invited to Italy for a "public conversation" on the data they used to make claim that bike hindered two-time Tour de France champion

Tadej Pogacar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Colnago has invited former-professional Tom Boonen to Italy to join a ride and public conversation around data analysing the performance of the brand's bikes. 

This comes after the retired Classics specialist, along with another ex-pro and winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Dirk De Wolf, criticised Colnago bikes on the Wielerclub Wattage podcast recently. 

Boonen and De Wolf claimed that UAE Team Emirates star Tadej Pogačar would “ride decisively faster” on other brands' bikes. Pogačar’s team has a long-term bike partnership with Colnago, which has been in place for a number of years. 

In a press release this afternoon, Colnago publicly invited Boonen, De Wolf and other podcast representatives to Italy before Milan-San Remo, to ride and test the latest 2023 V4Rs bike

As well as this, the brand has requested a public conversation on the podcast’s data that allowed Boonen and De Wolf to ascertain a “2kph difference in performance with other brands”. 

Colnago said that the data used by Boonen and De Wolf 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 iconic bike manufacturer 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.” 

UAE Team Colnago V4Rs race bike on a black background

(Image credit: Colnago / UAE Team)

Boonen and De Wolf made the claims while discussing the quality of the top bike manufacturers in the modern pro-peloton.

"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. 

Tadej Pogacar

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nevertheless, 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."

Meanwhile, already in 2023  Pogačar has won four times in just nine days of competitive racing. All while riding the new Colnago V4RS. 

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