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Last week, Boonen told the Wielerclub Wattage podcast that Tadej Pogačar is at a disadvantage against some of his direct GC rivals due to what he described as inferior equipment.
Boonen suggested Pogačar could ride even faster if he was on the same material as such teams as Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers. The comments were picked up by the Belgian media and splashed across the headlines.
Colnago did not like it, and formally challenged Boonen and the other podcasters to test-ride their bikes ahead of this year’s Milan-San Remo.
“Colnago responded to Boonen’s off-the-cuff comments by offering to bring, at its expense, the Belgian and his colleagues to ride and test the V4Rs bikes used by Colnago’s sponsored teams around the company’s Italian headquarters,” a company statement read.
“Followed by a public conversation about the podcast’s data that allowed them to identify the 2km/h difference in performances with other brands as reported by the podcast, in comparison with the data provided by Colnago on the bike’s white paper, available since its launch on the Colnago website’s homepage.”
The reaction reveals the high-stakes technological battle being fought out behind the scenes and in the wind-tunnel testing facilities across the elite of the peloton.
The peloton’s top teams and their respective equipment sponsors are in spending millions to find competitive advantages in aerodynamics, efficiency, and performance.
Colnago officials did not take lightly the high-profile criticism of their products from the like of Boonen, even if the comments were a small part of a longer conversation in the informal context of a podcast.
“The performances of UAE Team Emirates are a highest level priority of Colnago. Consequently, we have invested millions of euros and a lot of time in developing their bikes,” said Colnago CEO Nicola Rosin. “We work hand-in-hand with UAE Team Emirates and UAE Team ADQ, first to understand the demands they have for our bikes and then to ensure that what we are delivering is the absolute best available.
“We are of course in contact with the teams on a daily basis and, we have not heard a single complaint about the competitiveness of our bikes. In fact, they are ecstatic about the equipment we have provided thus far.”
There was no formal reply yet from Boonen.
After the statements made in @sporza_koers‘podcast by @dewolf_dirk and @tomboonen, we would like to invite them, together with @Jan_Bakelants and @rvanguch, in Cambiago the days before Milano-Sanremo, to ride and for a public conversation on V4Rs.
— Colnago (@Colnagoworld) March 8, 2023