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The bike(s) that snatched Tour de France victory at the last minute - Pogacar's Colnagos

Tadej Pogacar won the Yellow Jersey on the final time trial. Here are the Colnagos that carried him there

If you’re having a stressful day then soothe your mind with this calming phrase. A Colnago with rim brakes and a Campagnolo Super Record groupset just won the Tour de France on a mountain time trial that was ridden on feel instead of power numbers. Ahhhhhhh... that's better.

Tour de France 2020 Pogacar Yellow Colnago

Tadej Pogacar’s victory was certainly dramatic but racing aside, it was significant for another reason. This is the first time a Colnago rider has won the world’s biggest bike race on a bike that actually bears its name. Merckx won numerous Tour titles, but the bikes were never badged with ‘Colnago’; so for the company that many riders see as the gold-standard in frame design, Sunday was a significant day.

Tadej Pogacar's yellow frame held by Ernesto Colnago (via Colnago on Facebook).PNG

But it was on the Saturday that the iconic leader’s jersey was pinched from the shoulders of the rider that we all expected to wear it into Paris. Roglic faltered a little, but Pogacar was immense and it is the young Slovenian’s bike choices for that time trial that we are really interested in.

The TT bike - Colnago K-One

Tour de France 2020 Pogacar TT Bike Colnago K-One

The time trial started with 30.3km of flat terrain, so a full time trial setup was needed. Pogacar has good form when racing against the clock, having won the Slovenian National Championships with Roglic in second place.

His setup here includes a modified front end, with what looks to be a WattShop custom set of extensions mounted to the Colnago base bar. These custom extensions fit the forearm more snugly than standard extensions for better airflow. They also allow for angle adjustment to help the rider get their hands closer to their face, closing that very un-aero gap.

The groupset is 11-speed Campagnolo Super Record, a relatively old design now that hasn’t adopted the 12-speed technology of the road groupset. Pogacar used a 58-tooth Bora Ultra crankset with an 11-29 cassette.

The rear disc wheel is Campagnolo’s Bora Ultra TT and only comes in tubular form. The front-wheel though is the Bora WTO 77, a tubeless-ready design which the Team UAE Emirates mechanics have set up with a Vittoria Corsa Speed tyre.

The Road Bike - Colnago V3Rs rim-brake

Colnago V3Rs - prospettiva 3 - NERO.jpg

Colnago’s V3Rs road bike has been around for a few years now, and still comes in both rim-brake and disc-brake builds. Pogacar opts for the rim brake model which is slightly lighter, though both models can be built down below 7kg according to the team. They say that some of the riders opt for the rim brake model as it gives them more freedom to choose different wheel depths, while still hovering around the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit.

The rim brakes used are direct-mount, and come as part of the Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed groupset.

Pogacar made two interesting changes to his bike setup for the 5.9km ascent of the Planche des Belles Filles climb. Firstly, he used the tubular version of Vittoria’s Corsa Speed tyres, presumably to offer as little rolling resistance as possible.

2020 Tour de France Pogacar Hill Climb

Secondly, he rode the climb on ‘feel’. That is to say, he didn’t have a power meter on his bike, preferring to judge his effort as they did back in the good old days. It's also notable that he didn't even have a computer on his bars.

Tour de France 2020 Pogacar Alanera Bar

This move is completely understandable. Anyone that has ridden a hill climb will know how difficult it can be to ride to a set power when your vision is a bit blurry, the legs are screaming and the fans are deafening. The plan of simply going as hard as possible, or “full gas” as Pogacar said, is often the simplest way to approach such an effort.

His gearing was also rather different from what we'd normally see. Speaking to Pez Cycling, Pogacar's DS Alan Peiper confirmed that after multiple recon rides, a special cassette designed for junior racing was chosen. This 14-29 12-speed cassette gave one-tooth jumps in the 18-25 part of the cassette, allowing Pogacar the optimal gearing on the climb's steep slopes. This, according to Peiper, was combined with a 36/50 chainset, giving a far closer ratio than the standard 39/53.

Tour de France 2020 Pogacar Look Keo

Pogacar also used the Deda Alanera integrated bar, a Prologo Scratch M5 saddle and Look Keo Blade Carbon pedals with 20Nm blades.

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Mark_1973_ | 3 years ago

V3Rs is a new model. It hasn't been around for several years.

Liam Cahill | 3 years ago
1 like

Updated with more *juicy* gearing details

RobD replied to Liam Cahill | 3 years ago

That's actually pretty interesting, I don't know if many other riders adapted their gearing like that but it shows just how much detail he/his team went into for that ride, I get the impression they'd been targetting it all along.

kil0ran replied to RobD | 3 years ago

Fascinating. In my head I like to think he was pacing it like I do - push a cog for as long as I can, bail out to the next one when I need some respite, hope I don't run out of gears before the top.

Yeah, probably not. 

In the article it says they recon'd it months in advance multiple times. Preparation...

Fried | 3 years ago

As much as I love optimising my gear, the power does not come from the bike. 

RobD | 3 years ago

Can't tell from the picture, but did he also not have a power meter on the TT bike? was wondering if he'd measure the effort to the bottom of the climb so he didn't go too deep too early and then just give it his all up the climb or if he was all in from the start. Got to admire his confidence to go for it like he did, but then again that doesn't appear to be something he lacks when it comes to racing.

Rich_cb replied to RobD | 3 years ago

He had a power meter on the TT bike, no heart rate strap though.

No power meter or even a head unit on the road bike.

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