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Gallery: Colnago Owners' Day 2019

Joseph Delves
23 Aug 2019

Owners assemble for riding and promenading at their annual get-together

The weather in Milano was 30-degrees and sunny. In the Cotswolds, conditions were a little more mixed. Not that that stopped UK fans of Italian bike maker Colnago from rolling out down the lanes beside the stately pile of Chavenage House. Getting dirty a collection of bikes, some of which were sporting no fewer than six coats of wax, luckily by the time drinks were served on the lawn, the sun had popped back out.

Founded in 1952 by Ernesto Colnago, his bikes have not only won a mind-bendingly large number of races but remains the only brand officially endorsed by the Pope.

To say the brand has a following would be an understatement. Showing off bikes both old and new, we caught up with the devotees.

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This gorgeous steel Master with German-made Lightweight carbon wheels escaped the rain. Not because of fussiness on the part of its owner, but because an injury had ruled him out of the morning’s ride.

'I was aiming for a retro bike but with modern kit. Not something with down tube shifters, but something you’d actually want to ride. I’ve done thousands of miles on it.'

Colour matching his Fred Perry Harrington, and as neat as his buzz cut, a retro-futurist Italian bike is surely the ultimate in mod transport? 'Yeah, I suppose it does all fit together,' he explains.

'I was going to build up a Giant I had lying around this year, but then I got invited down and thought it’d better be this Colnago,' explains British cycling legend, Maurice Burton.

Luckily his De Ver Cycles shop in Streatham had more than enough bits kicking around to put together this C40 build. It was the only bike I saw with its accessories attached using electrical tape.

Known as ‘Il Gladiatore’ for his propensity to thrive in the hardest of the Spring Classics, Andrea Tafi won races including Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and the Il Lombardia. Associated with Italian super-squad Mapei–CLAS, at 53 years old he's still pursuing his dream to return to the Hell of the North.

Colnago built this incredible custom C64 to celebrate his on-going career. How did he feel racing on the old-style bikes?

'In the cobbled races, you used to worry about the forks. Ernesto Colnago said to me, "don’t worry, with these forks you have the power. Don’t think about RockShox suspension or whatever, these are perfect".

'After twenty years, now I think he was right. Colnago made the most important bikes in my life, so it’s good to carry on with them.'

The second of two riders present to have won Paris–Roubaix, Magnus Bäckstedt is 6ft 4in (193cm) tall and when racing weighed 14st 11ld (94kg).

So yes, those are the right size wheels in his XL C64.

This former sprinter was showing off the bike of a famed breakaway rider. 'I bought this bike from the estate of a man who’d gone out to Italy to buy it from the Casino team. It’s Jacky Durand’s. I was told it won the eighth stage into Montauban at the 1998 Tour de France, although I can’t guarantee that.

'Now it comes out on high-days and holidays. With a 21-tooth back sprocket, you suffer a bit on the hills, but I don’t think I’ve even had to adjust the bars or saddle to make it fit.'

Enjoying a celebratory ice cream, this is the bike that Zoe Bäckstedt took to the European Youth Olympics in Baku, Azerbaijan. It’s still got the same dirt and number-board as when she won the road race by over a minute.

According to this chap, real obsessives will find the contemporary issue of Cycling Weekly and use the pages from it to wrap their spare tubular tyre before fixing it under the saddle.

'Maybe I should have built it up with Campagnolo, but I reckon the old Dura-Ace stuff is better.'

As deep as all the other rims combined, the award for the most aero wheels goes to triathlete Mark Morison and his Concept.

Aiming to this year achieve a career goal and make it to the prestigious Kona Ironman, these Vison wheels were pinched from his TT bike.

This junior racer from the ZeroBC team was showing off his V2-r. 'I started with ZeroBC and thought I ought to go with one of the sponsor's bikes.'

Just back from the notoriously lumpy Junior Tour of Austria, other than the wheels, its the same bike he used to take on the race’s 1,000 metre-plus climbs.

It’s not just about the bikes. This man was sporting perfect period-correct Mapei kit, including gloves, helmet, and Briko shades. His bike was also adorned with all new-old-stock accessories, like the team bottles and Cateye computer.

'You can pay on eBay, but they’ll be a bike shop in Italy somewhere with them all still in their boxes.'

Giro Tony’s Colnago is a 2005 model and one of thirty to have had its paint done by the Milan school of art. It’d been hanging in a bike shop in Clitheroe in Lancashire but came to him via eBay.

For the past half-decade, it’s done around 5,000 miles per year. Apparently, he and his partner’s colour-coordinated outfits came about purely by chance.

This gentleman's Master Olympic was garnering a lot of attention due to it’s amazing matched colour-scheme. The oil-slick effect on the stem isn’t an applied finish, but rather a natural effect that occurs when heating titanium.

'I was at a jumble and my mate spotted it. I bought it for a pound.' Taking the same colours found on the frame, these are repeated on the wheels’ Shamal logos, the pink cabling, and in the tiny multicoloured dots hidden in the perforations in the bar tape.

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