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Tadej Pogacar would be "another 2km/h faster" on Jumbo-Visma, Ineos or Soudal-Quick Step team bikes, says classics winner

Dirk De Wolf says riding a Colnago is holding Pogacar back while Tom Boonen believes there's “a difference in quality” between the top bikes ridden in the pro peloton and the rest

Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar would ride 2km/h faster if he swapped his Colnago for a bike from another big pro team, says former Belgian pro Dirk De Wolf, winner of Liège–Bastogne–Liège back in 1992. While not directly endorsing that statement, former world champion and multi-time classics winner Tom Boonen says that there is “a difference in quality” between the top bikes ridden in the pro peloton and the rest.

All of this information comes from the Wielerclub Wattage podcast… but it’s in Dutch. 

Dirk De Wolf is quoted by Belgian broadcaster Sporza as saying, “If Tadej Pogacar gets on a bicycle from Jumbo-Visma, Ineos or Soudal-Quick Step tomorrow, the rest will have no chance. On those bikes he will pedal another 2km/h faster.”

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Slovenian Pogacar and his UAE Team Emirates squad race on Colnago bikes while Jumbo-Visma use Cervelo, Ineos ride Pinarello, and Soudal-Quick Step are on Specialized.

“[Colnago] undoubtedly have a good product there, but it is like a Ferrari and a Porsche: there is still a difference between the brands,” says De Wolf.

The basis upon which De Wolf makes this assessment is unclear. As for the 2km/h figure, well, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole creeping into the conversation. The 2022 Tour de France, for example, was ridden at an average speed of 42km/h. An extra 2km/h would make Pogacar nearly 5% better than everyone else. That said, Filippo Ganna rode the opening time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico 2023 2km/h faster than anyone else yesterday, so who knows?

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Tom Boonen says, “With the top 5 manufacturers there is still little contrast, but when you compare those five with the 10 manufacturers that follow, there is still a difference in quality.

“Colnago did indeed have a dip a while ago. It remains a bit of an old-school bike now and they haven't quite mastered the aero thing yet although they are now catching up.”

Ernesto Colnago sold a majority share of the Colnago brand to Abu Dhabi-based Chimera Investments back in 2020 and there have been several big launches since then, notably the V4Rs.

> Iconic Italian bike business Colnago sold to UAE-based investment firm

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Colnago claims that the V4Rs – raced under the temporary ‘Prototipo’ name for much of last season – is its ‘fastest monocoque frame ever’. The brand says that the V4Rs saves the equivalent of 17.5 watts over the V3Rs at a speed of 50km/h and a rider cadence of 90rpm, but it hasn’t made claims comparing the aero credentials with those of bikes from other manufacturers.

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

Interestingly, comments made on the Wielerclub Wattage podcast about the advantages different bikes can offer come just days after France 24 ran a story suggesting some riders and team managers believe that tech is turning cycle racing into Formula 1.

> Have bike tech wars turned cycling into Formula 1? Some pros think so, plus more tech news from Shimano, Zwift, Le Col, Dahon, Fairlight + more

Anthony Perez, who rides for Cofidis, was quoted by France 24 as saying, ”Before, [riders] all had almost the same bikes. Today, there are big differences.

“The frame, the wheels, the tyres... add everything up and you go from a tradesman’s two-wheeler to a rocket. Cycling has become like Formula 1.”

What do you think of the comments made by Dirk De Wolf and Tom Boonen? Do they sound plausible?

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. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. 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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