As WorldTour riders leave the professional peloton, some are choosing to leverage their skills and abilities in gravel racing. With less structure and a reliance on yourself and your equipment, gravel racing offers an opportunity for riders to “be themselves” in more ways than the professional ranks allow. After all, teams have a structure, training plans, worldwide racing schedules and sponsor obligations to meet and gravel offers an escape from much of that. Yes, professional gravel racers like Ted King, Peter Stetina and Colin Strickland have sponsors, training and obligations, but it’s individualized and catered to how they want to train.
For 2022, another strong former WorldTour rider is entering the ranks. Nathan Haas is an Australian rider who raced at the highest level since 2012 — most recently with Cofidis. With palmares including the GC at Tour of Britain and Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Haas has the stamina and strength to compete at the most demanding gravel races. But, for him, going back to dirt is a bit of a full circle endeavor since he got his start racing mountain bikes.
Thinking about his plans for 2022 and this multi-year partnership, Hass said:
“Cycling to me has always been about evolving – as an athlete, and as an expression of myself. I’ve dipped my toes in almost all forms of riding and while my road cycling career has been my greatest accomplishment to date, I’ve never pigeonholed myself as a road cyclist. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better founding partner for this new adventure in my career than Colnago. I know there will be no compromise on performance, and I will go into every race with the best equipment I could imagine.”
This season, Haas will be riding 5 different custom-painted Colnago G3-X gravel bikes — all with his “Full Circle” inspiration. While the Colnago G3-X has been around a couple of years now, these custom colors are beautiful and offer an expression of Haas’ desire to showcase his talents, his story and the Colnago brand. Taking these designs to the next level, he will also sport coordinated Castelli kits to match each of his five frames.
Colnago is excited for this partnership and knows a thing or two about making fast drop bar bikes for dirt. Their Prestige has dominated the cylcocross circuit for years and now the G3-X will be thrown into the gravel circuit with a splash. But, in case you missed it, the G3-X already has the Unbound Gravel 200 under its belt as American Lauren De Crescenzo took the women’s race in 2021.
Colnago is thrilled to be hitting the gravel circuit with Haas. Regarding this, Colnago’s Head of Marketing, Manolo Bertocchi had this to add:
“The most successful Italian brand in the history of off-road drop bar bikes has found the ideal partner in Nathan Haas. Good taste, creativity, style and strength come together in a project that will see the birth of five unique, exclusive and, frankly, beautiful bicycles. Nathan is the right man to represent Colnago on gravel roads all over the world. But it’s not just style: it’s racing to win with style!”.
Some are lamenting the entrance of WorldTour riders to these unstructured gravel races, but, to me, the competition has been great. I’ve been able to personally rub shoulders with some of these phenomenal athletes and it brings a connection that’s just not possible with the whirring peloton.
We can only hope that these colors will become available to the public because they are outstanding. Most likely, you’ll have to find one of the standard colors Colnago offers, but we’ll dig in and find out for sure.
More Info: Visit Colnago.com
Images courtesy Laura Fletcher @peloton brief