Colnago has been absent from the WorldTour for a few years now, but in 2017 it returns as sponsor of the new Chinese-backed team that will replace the current Lampre-Merida outfit.
The existing Lampre-Merida team will be taken over by Chinese company TJ Sport Consultation and continue to be managed by Giuseppe Saronni (who used to race aboard Colnago bikes when he was a professional), marking the first involvement of a Chinese company in WorldTour cycling.
Today Colnago has revealed a four-year collaboration with TJ Sport Consultation so supply bikes. Here’s the official press release:
“More than forty years have passed since Ernesto Colnago, the world-renowned builder of high-end road-racing bicycles, and cycling champion Giuseppe Saronni collaborated for the first time,” says Colnago.
“From the beginning, Ernesto Colnago revolutionised the world of cycling with his strokes of genius, while Saronni won both his and Colnago’s most important races, riding the famous Ace of Club branded Cambiago bikes.
“Colnago has continued to amaze the world of two-wheel racers by first developing carbon parts for the construction of bicycle frames, straight bladed forks, disc brakes and more. Meanwhile, Saronni has also become a capable and successful manager.
The prospect that one of the up-and-coming World tour teams will be supported by these two important figureheads is both exciting and exhilarating. Colnago and Saronni will continue to represent Italy, a nation that still wants to be a competitor in the world of cycling thanks to its skills, expertise and experience - virtues that rise above any technological development."
Saronni might represent Italy, but the news does mean there will be no Italian team in the WorldTour next year.
The news means we’ll get to see Colnago’s brand new Concept aero bike, unveiled at Eurobike last month, raced in anger and pitted against its main rivals from the likes of Specialized, Canyon, Trek etc. And what of Merida’s future in the WorldTour? It has jumped ship to the new Bahrain team with Vincenzo Nibali.
No other details about the team such as the title sponsor have been confirmed yet. We do know Team Sky’s Ben Swift has signed a deal with the new team, but the rest of the team has yet to be revealed.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.