Tim Maloney-European Editor
Ernesto Colnago was born on a cold February 9 morning seventy-five years ago to Antonio and Elvira at 8, viale Garibaldi in a small farming village just west of Milano on the Lombardy plain. This Friday, the man they call "il mago di Cambiago" (the wizard of Cambiago) treated his diamond anniversary like business as usual, working a full day in the office as always, with the exception that he had extra visits, faxes and phone calls from his many of well-wishers.
On a mild winters day, Cyclingnews joined the queue and was invited to sit down for an espresso with Signore Ernesto. At an age when many people are headed for retirement, Ernesto Colnago still has the passion of a teenager for racing bicycles and bicycle racing. "Tomorrow Petacchi will win," referring to the Milram sprinter's Italian debut in the GP Etruschi (and he did - ed.). "We are sponsoring two ProTour teams, and Landbouwkredeit, Panaria, Navigators and Tinkoff, as well as disabled champion Fabbrizio Macchi, the CAP Arreghini MTB team with Eva Lechner and amateur teams like Pallazago-Vellutex. It's a lot of work for us, but we love racing and this gives us the input we need to improve our products every year."
Colnago also said that his company was already working on some special new products for introduction later this year. "Come with me," he said and we went into the office next door, where Colnago's son-in-law Vanni Brambilla was checking a new generation of monocoque carbon fibre lugs for the Extreme Power. "We make the Extreme Power in 21 sizes as well as custom and each model has it's own set of lugs...no one else in the industry has made this investment in tooling."
As another group of Colnago's friends arrived, we bid him "arrivederci" and headed out to brave the Autostrada, passing a new Colnago globe statue outside the museum wing of his Cambiago HQ. On the base is inscribed Colnago motto: "When the Bicycle Is...Art".
After over six decades, for Colnago, his passion still burns bright.