Pro bike: João Almeida’s Colnago V4Rs for the Vuelta a España

Colnago’s do-it-all superbike is used by UAE Team Emirates for every road stage at the Spanish Grand Tour

Clock13:47, Tuesday 12th September 2023
João Almeida’s Colnago V4Rs


João Almeida’s Colnago V4Rs

Go back five years and virtually every team at the Vuelta a España used dedicated aero bikes and dedicated climbing bikes. Now things have changed, and many now only have one do-it-all superbike, designed to excel on any terrain, from wind-swept flat roads to the toughest climbs.

One of those teams is UAE Team Emirates whose riders use the Colnago V4Rs, the Italian brand’s jack-of-all-trades which is designed to be both aerodynamic and lightweight.

Colnago V4Rs: lightweight and aerodynamic

Traditionally, to make a bike aerodynamic, brands used deeper tube profiles, although this comes with added weight. More weight is bad news for climbing performance, which is why brands used to have dedicated aero and climbing bikes, and many still do.

Technology is constantly developing and many brands now have the ability to create bikes that are both aerodynamic and lightweight, all in one package. It’s a route Specialized most notably took when it abandoned its popular Venge range in 2021 in favour of the do-it-all Tarmac SL7, which has now been upgraded to the Tarmac SL8.

Colnago has also followed that path with the V4Rs, a bike that’s as capable on climbing stages as it is on flat days, proven by its impressive palmarès this season which includes a win at the Tour of Flanders and multiple Grand Tour stage wins. One of those came on stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia at the hands of João Almeida who is back in Grand Tour action at the Vuelta a España, where we managed to get our hands on his V4Rs.

According to Colnago, the V4Rs saves approximately 13.2 watts over its predecessor when riding at 50 kph with one bottle, a 3% improvement. Much of that is the result of the CC.01 cockpit which has 16% less drag surface than the cockpit used on the previous V3Rs.

The overall weight has also decreased but Colnago says that this doesn’t affect stiffness or compliance, leading to a bike that is “built to win”. Results this season certainly back that up, although Almeida has struggled to add to that number at the Vuelta.

Shimano and ENVE components

For his bike, the Portuguese star used Shimano’s Dura-Ace groupset, swapping in 54/40t Carbon-Ti chainrings, a popular choice in the pro peloton for their weight savings. That was paired with an 11-34t cassette which we also saw many other riders using, taking advantage of the broader gearing options.

We encountered Almeida’s bike prior to the opening road stage, and for it he had ENVE’s 4.5 wheelset. This is the deepest one available to the team at the race, with riders also getting to choose between the shallower 2.3 and 3.4 models.

As the opening road stage in Barcelona was relatively flat with only a couple of short but sharp climbs, the deeper wheelset was the better option with its greater aerodynamic benefits.

Instead of using the CC.01 cockpit that is commercially available with the bike, and has the aforementioned reduced drag surface, the team swaps it out for ENVE handlebars, in this case the SES Aero Integrated handlebar. That’s combined with a Ceramic Speed SLT headset bearing.

Finishing touches include a Prologo Scratch M5 saddle, Continental Grand Prix 5000 TT tyres in 28mm, plus Shimano Dura-Ace pedals.

Bike Specification
  • year


  • model


  • Manufacturer


Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox