Dream a little dream: Toto teetering on a win
By Anthony Tan
The 2007 Eurus wheelset
The three-leafed clover
Anyone for brake-fast?
They don't look like
"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
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
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
Frame: 2007 Colnago Dream HX, 52cm
Fork: Colnago Street carbon
Rider's height: 1.70m (5'5") Rider's weight: 70kg (154lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 43mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 472mm
Saddle height, from BB center to top: 668mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 548mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 527mm
Top tube length: 530mm
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
Pedals: Look KeO
Seat post: Campagnolo Record
Saddle: Prologo, Ti rails
Bottle cages: Elite carbon