Colnago is a brand steeped in history, known not just for its high-quality, artisan builds, but also for producing bikes that have regularly been used to win the biggest races in the world.
In the last few years, it's attained much of its screen time by being the bike brand of UAE Team Emirates and more pertinently, the teams preeminent superstar Tadej Pogačar.
The Slovenian may not have been able to add to his Tour de France tally this year (finishing second), but it's fair to say his season has been nothing but spectacular. After winning the Jaén Paraiso Interior and the Ruta del Sol in Spain, he dominated Paris-Nice (where this bike was shot) before cleaning up in the spring Classics. A fourth at Milan-Sanremo and a third at the E3 Saxo Classic were as low-key as it got, before three back-to-back wins at the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, and La Flèche Wallonne were only spoilt by crashing out at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he no doubt would have been a key challenger to eventual winner Remco Evenepoel.
The 25-year-old is back racing at the Italian Classics in September and October, following a break after the World Championships, culminating at Il Lombardia where he'll hope for a third consecutive victory.
Pogačar’s 2023 race bike heavily differs to the one he rode last season in terms of componentry, but Colnago remained as the frame supplier. Last year, Pogačar could be seen riding Colnago’s ‘Prototipo’ throughout the season, using the bike for in-competition testing. At the time, Colnago said the Prototipo represented a new way of construction and there were five different frame laminations, with Colnago eventually selecting a consumer-ready final version that was released to the public at the end of 2022, known as the new V4Rs.
The V4Rs is the only bike that UAE Team Emirates has been riding throughout the season since Colnago markets it as all-rounder and doesn't offer a specific aerodynamic bike or frame. The current V4Rs is said to be stiffer, lighter and more aerodynamic than the previous iteration. In terms of aesthetics, the bike is simple and understated with a black base colour and some subtle glitter detailing which can be seen when the bike is in the sun, presumably because less paint means that the bike will have a lighter overall weight.
Where the real changes come on the 2023 version of the bike is in UAE Team Emirates' well-documented shift from Campagnolo to Shimano groupsets. The team isn’t officially a Shimano-sponsored team, as this would require them to use Shimano wheels and Pro components too. Instead, UAE Team Emirates are one of the WorldTour teams that buy their groupsets from Shimano directly, as this gives them fewer sponsorship obligations when it comes to using Shimano’s partner brands.
Pogačar’s bike this season has featured the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 12-speed groupset, with dual-sided power meter and, in this case at Paris-Nice, fitted with 54/40t chainrings. He's also using different handlebars and wheels to those seen in 2022. UAE Team Emirates said goodbye to the Campagnolo Bora Ultras ridden last year for 2023 and hello to Enve SES 4.5 wheels, said to be selected after the team conducted its own independent wind tunnel testing comparing some of the biggest wheel manufacturers in the industry.
Differently to the bike Pogačar was seen riding over winter which featured a Colnago CC.01 cockpit, Enve is now the brand of choice when it comes to Pogačar’s cockpit. His Paris-Nice bike featured Enve’s SES Aero handlebar and stem combination, but in more recent months he's been using the new Enve one-piece setup.
(Photo by Zac Williams/SWPix)
These handlebars are said to have careful handlebar shaping which reduces the rider’s frontal area and compatibility with most of the internally routed front-ends on the market. Pogačar’s handlebars are slammed as low as possible to achieve the maximum aero gains. The Richard Mille sticker on the stem represents Pogačar’s sponsorship from the watch company.
The bike also featured Elite bottles and bottle cages – the team use Elite turbo trainers to warm up ahead of stages.
Pogačar was also using a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt head unit and a Prologo Dimension saddle which is slammed extremely far forward and seems to have a slight downward tilt, presumably also to aid aerodynamics when Pogačar goes for one of his solo breakaway moves. His tyres of choice were Continental GP500 TR tubeless-ready tyres.