After three weeks, 21 stages, 3,414 kilometres and over 45,000m of climbing, Tadej Pogačar has today been crowned the victor of the 2021 Tour de France. It is his second overall victory in two starts, taking with it his second mountains classification and, by virtue of his short 22 years on this planet, another young riders' classification too.
As highlighted in Adam Becket's recent analysis for Procycling, it's been a done deal effectively since stage 5 when Pogačar asserted his dominance in the first time trial, and definitely since stage 8, when he completely blew his competitors away on the first mountain stage of the race.
So confident the team have been, that Pogačar has been aboard a yellow accented Colnago ever since he stepped into the yellow jersey on stage 9.
The bike's design sees an almost 50-50 split between matte black and Tour-appropriate yellow. The black colour begins at the head tube, covering the entire handlebar, as well as the first third of the fork legs and top tube. It then continues down the length of the down tube, most of the way up the seat tube and rearward through a third of the chain stays. The large Colnago logo on the down tube is in contrasting yellow, along with the Asso di Fiori (Ace of Clubs) logo on the head tube.
The lower portion of the fork legs, as well as the remaining portions of the top tube, chainstays and the entire seat stays are finished in yellow, along with the Prologo bar tape, Look pedals and Elite bottle cages. The only other colours to feature are red - which houses the Emirates logo on the top tube - and green, which is accompanied by black, white and more red to make up the UAE flag on the seat tube.
Over recent years, it has become almost customary for classification leaders to be given a brand new, custom-painted celebratory bike for the final stage procession into Paris. Colnago took this approach last year and has had plenty of notice to prepare another for the Slovenian, but despite this, Pogačar remained aboard the same bike that he's raced over much of the past three weeks.
It is the V3Rs from Colnago, complemented by a nearly all-Italian build. The V3Rs frameset is a lightweight, aero all-rounder that incidentally sees its two-year launch anniversary tomorrow. At the time of that launch, Pogačar was still a relative unknown at just 20 years old and had never ridden a grand tour, but in the two years since, he's quickly cemented his place in the history books with a podium at La Vuelta accompanying his two Tour de France victories.
The Italian theme continues with components from Campagnolo. Unsurprisingly, Pogačar gets the top-tier groupset in Campagnolo's range, the Super Record 12-speed EPS. However, on the time trial days when running his rim brake-equipped Colnago K-One TT bike, the Slovenian returned to Campagnolo's old 11-speed Super Record EPS groupset for reasons unknown. Interestingly, a similar backward-switch was made during the Giro d'Italia by Lotto Soudal's Caleb Ewan, who cited his preference for a specific cassette sprocket size as the reason.
Another equipment switch that Pogačar made comes at the centre of the disc brake debate, as the Slovenian and his teammates made the switch back to rim brakes for stages 17 and 18, despite using disc brakes on the early Alpine mountain stages and the double ascent of Mont Ventoux. Again, Pogačar and his team are yet to confirm the reasons for this decision, but in total, Pogačar used disc brakes on 17 of the 21 days.
Pogačar most likely gets a free choice of wheels from Campagnolo's range, yet despite a multitude of different models and depths available to him, his time was split among just three different wheelset choices, excluding the two time trial stages.
On the two stages where he rode a rim brake bike, he opted for Campagnolo's Bora Ultra tubular wheelset. Throughout his time on disc brakes, his time was shared among Bora One tubulars and Bora Ultra WTO tubeless wheels, with the tubular wheel used "to reduce the bike's weight a little where it matters most," according to a representative from Campagnolo.
His choice of wheel had a direct impact on his choice of tyre, but the Italian theme continues here too, with all of the Slovenian's rubber coming from Vittoria's Corsa range.
Pogačar's bike has then been fitted with the Prologo Scratch saddle, the Alanera carbon one-piece cockpit from Deda is wrapped in Prologo bar tape, and to complete the Italian affair, the carbon fibre Vico bottle cages from Elite are filled with the same brand's lightweight Fly bottles. The Italian party is gatecrashed by pedals from Look, who supplies its Keo Blade Carbon pedals finished in a colour matching yellow.
Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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