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Pro bikes, March 8, 2007

Salvatore Commesso's Tinkoff Credit Systems Colnago Dream HX

Photo ©: Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

Dream a little dream: Toto teetering on a win

By Anthony Tan

The 2007 Eurus wheelset
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The three-leafed clover
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Anyone for brake-fast?
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They don't look like
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Prologo saddles
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SRM cranks
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"Someone was born to invent automobiles, or to build airplanes or ships, or to write poetry or be a surgeon or a teacher. Ernesto Colnago came into the world to build bicycles. It is, for Colnago, a natural gift. Every part of the most popular vehicle invented by man is treated by Colnago with the delicacy and precision of a diamond cutter."

Few would argue with this statement, which appears on the homepage of the Colnago Web site and is headlined "Quality Is The Soul Of Our Product".

Bearing the mark of a three-leaved clover, Colnago was once a brand name most could only dream about owning, but in recent years, the Cambiago, Italy, based firm has expanded its range, and while the top models - including Salvatore Commesso's Dream HX - are still made in Italia, part of the production is now outsourced and made in China.

At 165 centimetres or 5 feet 5 inches tall, 'Toto' - as his friends call him - is short even for a cyclist, but his low centre of gravity, tenacity and power pedalling has propelled the stocky 31 year-old from Torre del Greco, Campania, to nine career victories, including two Tour de France stages and two Italian national road championships.

Commesso began his career with Saeco in 1998, and stayed seven years before switching to Lampre-Cafitta in 2005. There, under the leadership of team manager Giuseppe Saronni, he's come close to a win, but victory has eluded him these past two seasons: in 2005 at the Giro del Veneto, he created the final selection, but had to play second-fiddle to his then team-mate Eddy Mazzoleni; then on the road to Gap at last year's Tour de France, a day-long breakaway ended in tears for Toto, who lost to cunning Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo.

That loss really hurt him. Now, it's four years and counting without a win, and the move to Tinkoff Credit Systems will hopefully bring some luck at this year's Giro d'Italia, where the team are hoping for a wildcard place.

In Malaysia this February for some early season race miles aboard his Colnago Dream HX, Commesso's frame is the latest evolution of the first all-aluminium Dream that made its debut in the mid-90s. The main triangle uses Columbus' aluminium Airplane tubing, that for 2007 has been redesigned - though still oversized with longitudinal reinforcing ribs - and triple butted to resist twisting and flexing forces at each of the tube clusters. And like the ubiquitous Colnago logo, the profile of the tubes is clover-shaped or "bi-conic" as the company calls it, designed to enhance lateral rigidity while still providing a smooth ride - important qualities for a punchy, 70 kilo (154 pounds) middleweight like Commesso.

A notable change to the 2007 model Dream HX is the dispensation of the B-Stay/HP seat stay and chainstay combination that filtered through from the flagship Colnago C-40 and C-50. Instead, a curved or 'bowed' carbon seat stay, found on the CF-4 Ferrari and Cristallo models, has been chosen as the front triangle's best mate to ensure the greatest power transfer and braking efficiency, while chunky, ovalized chainstays maximise rigidity along the drivetrain.

The 5'5" Commesso takes the smallest of five sloping sizes, with an effective top tube length of just 51.8 centimetres and a relatively steep seat angle of 75.3 degrees, though this is par for the course when dealing with a frame of this size. A better bici, a new team and new motivation: time for Toto to win again.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

Full specification

Frame: 2007 Colnago Dream HX, 52cm
Fork: Colnago Street carbon

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.70m (5'5") Rider's weight: 70kg (154lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 43mm
Seat tube length, c-t:
Saddle height, from BB center to top: 668mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars:
C of front wheel to top of bars:
Top tube length:

Crankset: SRM
Chain: Campagnolo Record
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Brakes: Campagnolo Record
Levers: Campagnolo Record
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Record


Wheelset: Campagnolo Eurus clincher (16/22 F/R)
Tyres: Vittoria Open Corsa Evo-CX 23 clincher

Handle bars: FSA Energy, 42cm (o-o)
Stem: FSA OS-115, 130mm
Headset: Colnago
Tape: Colnago

Pedals: Look KeO
Seat post: Campagnolo Record
Saddle: Prologo, Ti rails
Bottle cages: Elite carbon
Computer: N/A