On the morning of June 4, the starting gun will sound and thousands of riders will set off. Every rider there will be hoping to finish the 2022 Unbound gravel race, and one of those will be Nathan Haas, atop a completely unique Colnago G3-X.
Haas perhaps needs no introduction, for the last ten years, he's been road racing professionally. His road UCI World Tour debut came in 2012 with the Garmin-Barracuda team and continued until the end of 2021 when he retired after a stint at Cofidis. The retirement wasn't an end to a professional career though. Instead, it was a return to his roots of off-road racing. Rather than returning to the mountain biking that brought him early success, he has followed the likes of Pete Stetina and Ian Boswell into the world of gravel racing, with the backing of Campagnolo, Deda and Colnago.
The latter of those has today unveiled the unique bike in question, which is complete with a stunning retro-replica paintjob.
Haas won't actually be the first to ride the Colnago G3-X at Unbound as Lauren De Crescenzo raced it to a win in 2021. Haas's version will incorporate a number of unique details though.
While De Crescenzo used SRAM components, Haas will be riding on sponsor Campagnolo's thirteen-speed Ekar groupset and wheels paired with a Deda Elementi cockpit. The bike also receives one of five custom painted designs themed after big names of the Gravel World Series that Haas expects to race this season.
The new “Art Decor” design, the second in the series, gets painted to celebrate the history of the Unbound event, the surrounding area, and the rider who will be attempting to take the bike to victory. The top tube portrays a stylized version of Haas from behind, and the colours draw inspiration from the Kansas flag. On the frame is the phrase "ad astra per aspera", the motto of Kansas in Latin, which means "to the stars through difficulties" and "represents the struggles Kansas faced with issues such as slavery, Indian attacks, and the inevitable war." It's not too much of a stretch to see a metaphorical meaning in the struggle to win an iconic race across a difficult route and against strong competition.
This design, and the others, are not currently planned for sale.
Not leaving anything forgotten, the kit that Nathan will be wearing will also receive attention. Designer Richard Pierce worked together with Colnago and Castelli to create a look inspired by the cycling trends of the 2000s. The look will be a mix of the past and the present, repurposing both in a celebration of the "cult of the vintage in the era of personalisation." It's meant to highlight the unique style of the bike, the rider, and the time.
The season for Nathan includes the main races of the UCI Gravel World Series calendar. Beyond Unbound, he'll head to North Carolina for Belgian Waffle Ride on June 11, then The Rift on July 23 and SBT GRVL on August 14, as well as some of the Nova Eroica events.
The Colnago G3-X is one of a growing number of all-road style gravel race bikes. It came to market at the end of 2019 bringing a mix of the road going Colnago V3RS as well as the Prestige cyclocross bike. Making the jump from those two bikes to gravel meant optimising geometry to accommodate wider tyres. The full carbon and fork have space for up to 700x42 or 650bx47 tyres along with a longer wheelbase and longer top tube paired with a recommendation for a shorter stem. There are five sizes available and space for three water bottles and a top tube bag.
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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutia of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Weight: 137 lb.
Rides: Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Trek Checkpoint, Priority Continuum Onyx