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Take a look at Tadej Pogačar’s tricked-out Colnago V4Rs

Pog’s Giro d’Italia bike is fitted with some cool carbon-fibre components and is decorated in pink to match his race leader’s jersey

Over a week in, Tadej Pogačar has a commanding lead in the 2024 Giro d’Italia, and here’s the Colnago V4Rs that he’s riding on the road stages, complete with some very cool components.

Pogačar has so far made most time over his opponents on the individual time trial when riding the Colnago TT1, but he has won two road stages and podiumed on a third.

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (7)

All pics:  Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd)

At the heart of things is the Colnago V4Rs frameset, a model referred to as the ‘Prototipo’ (Prototype) when raced by UAE Team Emirates during the 2022 season before being officially launched at the end of that year.

> Colnago officially unveils V4Rs road bike with its ‘fastest monocoque frame ever’

Colnago says that the V4Rs was “conceived as a fully-integrated system”, designed with both aerodynamics and a light weight in mind. 

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (8)

“The V4Rs has been designed as… a complete bicycle in a “ready-to-race” configuration,” Colnago said at launch. “The technical work focused on reducing the impact of the frontal area, basically the head tube, and the consequent better integration with the fork crown.”

Colnago claims that the V4Rs will save the equivalent of 17.5 watts over the previous V3Rs at a speed of 50km/h and a rider cadence of 90rpm (in other words, you could achieve that speed while putting out 17.5 watts less).

Colnago published a White Paper at the time of the V4Rs launch. There’s no data in there comparing the aero performance with that of bikes from other brands, so don’t know precisely how it believes its top-level model measures up against the competition.

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (3)

We reviewed the V4Rs last year and said that it offered “stunning performance and handling” – as you’d probably expect of a top-level bike that, in the build we had, was priced at £12,999.

“The highlight of the ride is that it isn't a handful to live with in the steering department, meaning that us mere mortals can push this bike hard through the bends and come out the other side with a grin on our faces,” said reviewer Stu Kerton.

> Read our review of the Colnago V4Rs

When it launched the V4Rs, Colnago said,“While being compatible with third-party components, V4Rs has been conceived to offer the best aerodynamic performance in combination with the Colnago CC.01 handlebar.”

As you can see, though, Pogačar uses a combined handlebar/stem from Enve (the Richard Mille sticker on the stem section refers to a Swiss watchmaking brand that sponsors the team). This isn’t the Enve SES AR [Aero Road] integrated bar that was made available aftermarket in January of this year, it’s the aero-optimised SES Pro Team One-Piece Handlebar which, Enve says, was designed specifically for Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates and will be released later in 2024. There’s no word on the price yet but, for reference, the SES AR is a whopping £1,300 so don’t expect the SES Pro Team to be cheap.

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (4)

Viewed from the front, you can see a considerable flare to the drops, while the shoulders of the bar are narrow to improve aerodynamics. Pogačar’s has his levers angled inward, so the hoods of the levers are narrower still.

> Are you sitting down? The price of Enve’s new SES AR One-Piece handlebar will stun you 

Pogačar’s bike is fitted with Enve SES 4.5 wheels (50mm-deep rim at the front, 56mm-deep rim at the rear) shod with Continental’s Grand Prix 5000 TT TR tyres. As the name suggests, these are intended primarily for time trial use but the fact that Conti says that they’re “the fastest option in the Grand Prix 5000 tubeless tyre family” makes them attractive for wider race use too. Conti claims a weight of 240g in a 28mm width.

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 2

UAE Team Emirates moved from Campagnolo to Shimano last year, so Pogačar’s bike is fitted with a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset. Zoom in closely and we can see that he’s following the trend towards shorter cranks; these are 165mm.

> Are shorter cranks better on your bike? Find out why bike fit experts recommend going shorter 

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 2 (1)

Those aren’t Shimano chainrings, though, they’re X-CarboRings from Carbon-Ti, an official UAE Team Emirates supplier from Italy. The central section is carbon fibre and the teeth are aluminium. Zoom in again and we can see that they’re 55/40T. The 55T chainring isn’t yet available to the public.

The disc brake rotors come from Carbon-Ti too. The steel brake track is mounted to a carbon-fibre central body with titanium rivets. Those rivets are laser engraved, by the way. Carbon-Ti claims a weight of 68g for a 140mm rotor and 80g for a 160g rotor. For comparison, Shimano gives an official weight of 97g for a 140mm Dura-Ace rotor. Carbon-Ti rotors will set you back €185 each.

Sticking with the brakes, Pogačar’s bike is equipped with Absolute Black’s Graphenpads – which makes Absolute Black especially proud because it’s not an official sponsor.

Are these (50 QUID) brake pads the future?

Absolute Black says, “Ceramic Graphenpads are a completely new benchmark for the braking pad industry thanks to our unique approach to the design of backplate cooling fins, bespoke backplate coating with graphene as well as a completely new friction compound, which uses specially modified graphene.”

It claims a weight of 16g per set, plus 1g for the spring.

Although Pogačar and some UAE teammates used super-light seatposts from Darimo last year, this bike is equipped with a Colnago post. It’s topped by a pink Prologo saddle with Nack carbon rails, and the Scicon transponder sleeve – a flexible, robust and weight-saving alternative to a mounting bracket, according to Scicon – is pink too, reflecting the race leader’s jersey, of course. The frame logos, bar tape (with Shimano satellite shifters poking through), and Wahoo bike computer follow the maglia rosa theme.

2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac © (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (5)

What are the chances of Pogačar riding this bike to victory in the Giro d’Italia? Most bookies currently have him at 1/12. In other words, you’d have to put down a £12 stake to win a quid (you’d get your stake back too if he wins, obviously). No other rider has odds lower than 18/1. That tells you about all you need to know. Strange things happen in bike racing, but barring a crash, illness or a bolt of lightning, does anyone think that Pogačar and his Colnago V4Rs won’t be in pink a week on Sunday?

Check out loads more Bikes at Bedtime here. 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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ubercurmudgeon | 1 month ago

Let's face it, he'd still be leading the Giro right now if he was riding an aluminium frame with mid-spec components priced under two grand.

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