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It is unclear whether Nicolas Geay, a sports reporter with France Television, had spotted a new bike under Tadej Pogačar when he jokingly tweeted about getting dropped by a guy he had seen somewhere before. Either way, eagle-eyed Twitterers weren’t long in spotting it and alerting CT HQ of an unidentified, unbranded, aero bike under the two-time Tour de France champion.
Pogačar, seemingly on a recon ride of stage 11 of the upcoming Tour – from Albertville to Col du Granon – was spotted with the new bike on Saturday past, on both the Col du Télégraphe and the summit finish on the Col du Granon. Pogačar’s Team UAE-Emirates teammate Rafał Majka joined the reigning Tour champion but rode on the current V3Rs.
Understandably, with only these two photos of the new bike available, details are extremely scarce, but Colnago has confirmed that Pogačar was testing a prototype frame, stating only that the bike is a “Colnago prototipo” and “we are lucky to have the best cyclist in the world riding our bikes; we use his knowledge for testing, particularly this time of the year.”
Thankfully though, we can just about see enough of the frame to make a few educated guesses as to what Colnago has on the way.
The current Colnago V3Rs was only released as recently as 2019 and since then Pogačar has ridden the bike to a Vuelta podium, two Tour de France titles, Monument wins, and countless other incredible performances. Still, the disc brake V3Rs was on the heavier end of the GC-rider’s-bike spectrum and is thought to be one of the least aerodynamically efficient do-it-all bikes in the peloton. From what we can see in the photos, it seems Colango has moved to address both those concerns ahead of this year’s Grande Boucle.
Starting up front, and although hard to be certain from the two photos we have, it seems the head tube is now deeper and much more profiled, flowing into the top tube for what appears to be both a more aero and lightweight configuration.
The top tube itself has lost the distinctive shaping on the current V3Rs, being replaced with a sleeker slimmer tube, again presumably all in the name of saving some grams.
The down tube not only appears to have taken on a much more aero profiled shape, but the gap between the down tube and the front wheel has grown significantly.
It is the new seat tube that is perhaps most interesting. Colnago again seems to have opted for an improved aero profile with a matching aero seatpost. But rather than drop and flare the seatstays as so many brands are now doing, Colnago has opted to better integrate the stays into the seat tube.
The bike, of course, has disc brakes, and it seems unlikely a rim brake version will follow. Interestingly, Pogačar was also riding with the new Campagnolo prototype wheels we spotted on Blockhaus. Campy has since confirmed they are a prototype climbing wheel they hope to release soon.
It might just be the matt black unpainted finish and the thinner-looking tubes, but the whole bike just looks light. We know Pogačar will already have a new Colnago time trial bike for the Tour, and it makes sense that he might expect a new, potentially V4Rs road bike as well, given he is testing this prototype on Tour recons.
It’s right about now that you, me, and the entire Tour de France peloton is probably thinking: “Faster bikes? That’s the last thing we wanted Tadej Pogačar to have.”