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Colnago Ernesto & C. S.r.l. or Colnago is a manufacturer of high-end road-racing bicycles founded by Ernesto Colnago in 1954 near Milano in Cambiago, Italy. Instead of following his family’s farming business, Ernesto Colnago chose to work in the cycle trade, apprenticing first with Gloria Bicycles at 13, subsequently taking up road racing. After a bad crash ended his racing career, he began subcontracting for Gloria, opened his own shop and built his first frames the same year. Much in demand as a racing mechanic, he was second mechanic on the Nivea team Giro d’Italia under Faliero Masi in 1955, eventually being employed as head mechanic for the Molteni team of Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx.
The company first became known for high quality steel framed bicycles, and later as one of the more creative cycling manufacturers responsible for innovations in design and experimentation with new and diverse materials including carbon fiber, now a mainstay of modern bicycle construction.