UAE Team Emirates’ bike sponsor, Colnago, is holding back Tadej Pogačar, according to retired Classics specialist Tom Boonen.
Speaking alongside fellow Belgian and former Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Dirk De Wolf on the Flemish Wielerclub Wattage (opens in new tab) podcast, the pair discussed the quality of manufacturers in the peloton today.
“He’d ride decisively faster on those bikes,” started De Wolf, referencing a previous quote in which he’d said that if Pogačar was given the bike of Team Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers or Soudal-QuickStep, then his competitors wouldn’t stand a chance. “Cervélo, S-Works, Pinarello, [if he rode those,] then he would ride a few more watts faster and better.”
UAE Team Emirates have been sponsored by the Italian brand Colnago ever since the team transformed from Lampre-Merida ahead of the 2017 season. Pogačar has been with the team for his entire WorldTour career, joining in 2019 from Slovenian outfit Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum at just 20 years of age. During that time, he’s enjoyed a prodigious career aboard the brand, winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège himself, alongside the Tour de France, Il Lombardia and Tirreno-Adriatico twice each, plus Strade Bianche and more.
Jumbo Visma have ridden aboard Cervélo bikes since switching from Bianchi in 2021. Ineos have been with Pinarello since their inception in 2010, while Soudal-QuickStep have ridden Specialized bikes since 2006 – a season in which Boonen himself won the Tour de France sprinters’ classification aboard the Tarmac SL2 – and will continue to do so until at least 2027.
“I think Tom [Boonen] can very easily answer what the difference is between a very good bike, a slightly inferior bike, and a top bike,” De Wolf continued. “It’s like a Ferrari and a Porsche, there’s a difference. Tom?”
“I think [within] a top five of manufacturers, there is little difference [between] them,” Boonen responded. “There is of course always an order to it, but indeed, there is still a lot of difference between a top five and a top 10 or 15.”
Asked if he considered Colnago outside of that top five, Boonen agreed. “Yes. Colnago is catching up, but it’s still an old-school bike, and they haven’t quite mastered that super-hyper-aero stuff yet.”
Boonen’s criticism comes just months after Colnago launched two…
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