Two time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar has been spotted training on an unmarked bike that’s presumably an unreleased model from the UAE Team Emirates sponsor Colnago. The bike is not yet on the UCI’s List of Approved Models of Frameset.
Main image: @TroxusEd, Twitter
French sports journalist Nicolas Geay Tweeted a picture of Pogačar at the weekend along with a caption that translates as, “When you climb the quiet Granon on a Sunday and you get dropped off by a guy you've seen somewhere before…”
The Col du Granon is a climb in the Alps.
Idem, je l'ai croisé dans le télégraphe ce matin avec Majka... Intrigué par ce vélo maquillé pic.twitter.com/Pm5qlD1r8H
— Troxus (@TroxusEd) May 22, 2022
Another rider Tweeted, “Ditto, I ran into him on the Télégraph this morning with Majka… Intrigued by this disguised bicycle.”
That’s Rafal Majka, Pogačar’s Polish teammate.
What’s the bike, then? Well, it’s certainly not a prototype of Colnago’s recently launched C68 that just happens to be kicking around still.
With slightly dropped seatstays, the existing Colnago bike it most closely resembles is the V3Rs that was launched back in 2019.
You’re usually looking at a three or four-year lifespan for a top-level race bike so it wouldn’t be unusual if a new version of this bike was about to be released.
It has been well documented that Pogačar has switched between rim brake and disc brake versions of the V3Rs depending on the race and the terrain. Pogacar’s rim brake bike is about 300g lighter than his disc brake bike.
For instance, although he mostly rode disc brake bikes in last year’s Tour de France, Pogačar won stages 17 and 18 on a rim brake V3Rs. They were both summit finishes.
Similarly, Pogačar used a rim brake V3Rs for the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (above) back in March to help him secure victory.
Pogačar’s attitude is that he wants any slight weight advantage he can get when climbing is going to prove decisive.
Colnago pitches the V3Rs as the perfect all-round bike, suited to sprinting, climbing and everything else in-between. It claims a frame weight of 780g, although that’s for the disc brake version in a 50cm version (Colnago’s sizing is unusual; a 50cm frame has a 537mm effective top tube, so it’s larger than you might think).
That’s already very light but it wouldn’t surprise us if Colnago was dropping weight on a new version of this bike so that it could be built up to the 6.8kg minimum limit for racing.
Although Colnago plays up the current V3Rs’ aero credentials, it’s likely to have been working on reducing drag on this new bike simply because that’s the direction in which the market is still heading – combining sleek aerodynamics with a light weight.
The top tube looks slimmer than that of the V3Rs (the yellow bike, above, is Pogačar’s from the 2021 Tour de France) and the shaping is a little different around the point where the seatstays join the seat tube. It looks like the seatstays sit a little wider at that point, perhaps to add stiffness, and that their profile throughout is flatter than on the V3Rs. Bike designers often say that this allows them to improve comfort.
Pogačar’s bike is fitted with a one-piece monocoque handlebar and stem that’s similar to the CC.01 cockpit used on the new C68, and it uses an upper headset cover that sits almost flush with the top tube.
Beyond that, it’s difficult to glean anything useful about the new bike from these pictures. Perhaps the down tube is shaped slightly differently to reduce drag, and maybe the head tube is a little deeper but it’s hard to be certain.
When are we likely to see the new bike raced? The Tour de France would be the obvious choice. With Pogačar seeking a third win, it’s unlikely that Colnago would want to miss the opportunity to show off its new bike in cycling’s biggest shop window.
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 road.cc 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 pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.