The Ace of Clubs

Cycling Weekly - - Interview -

The Colnago brand dates from a time when as much thought and imag­i­na­tion were put into head badges as the bi­cy­cles them­selves. While modern in­car­na­tions are al­most in­vari­ably sim­plis­tic and some­times look like lit­tle more than af­ter­thoughts, the in­tri­cate de­signs of Colnago’s time were of­ten cre­ations to be proud of; telling a story, pre­sent­ing a scene, and in some cases even fea­tur­ing the com­pany ad­dress.

The Ace of Clubs that has be­come so syn­ony­mous with the Colnago brand is rel­a­tively no-frills for the time, but no less em­blem­atic for it. It was con­ceived in 1970 af­ter Ital­ian all-rounder Michele Dan­celli, rid­ing for Molteni, scored the first Mi­lan-san Remo win for the home na­tion in 17 years — on board a Col­nagob­uilt bike.

Jour­nal­ist Bruno Raschi wrote in Gazzetta dello Sport that Dan­celli had “won on a bi­cy­cle that was in bloom”, and with the ace of clubs known as the ace of flow­ers in Italy, Raschi later sug­gested to Ernesto Colnago that he cre­ate a new head badge based on it in recog­ni­tion of the win.

Ernesto Colnago has pre­vi­ously been quoted as say­ing: “I liked the idea right away. San Remo is the city of flow­ers and Raschi had writ­ten that the bi­cy­cle was in bloom, and I was hop­ing in my heart that I would be­come an ace in the bike world.

“As soon as I got home, I cre­ated the new logo — the ace of clubs. To­day that logo is recog­nised all over the world.”

Colnago’s em­blem, borne out of a bi­cy­cle ‘in bloom’

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