Tom Boonen will kick off his classics campaign with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this weekend, and he'll race this custom painted Specialized Venge ViAS Disc with a design that celebrates his 15th year as a professional racing cyclist.
Boonen is sticking with disc brakes, despite Marcel Kittel switching back to rim brakes following the recent controversy. The bike is essentially identical to the one he has been racing this season and notching up his first win of 2017 with. Is this the bike that will win Paris-Roubaix? Boonen will certainly be hoping that is the case.
Here's the official blurb from Quick-Step Floors:
"To honour a 15-year career in professional road cycling for one of the most talented and winningest riders of all time, Specialized has created a specific design which will become "the mark" of Tom Boonen after his farewell to professional racing. The limited edition bike designed specifically for the Belgian legend will be sold in all Specialized markets, in a very small number and will debut tomorrow at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"The four-wing feather tip design represents the four Paris-Roubaix victories Tom scored in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012. These are intended to be wings of a Guardian angel which will help carry him safely to obtain his 5th well-deserved coveted trophy which he came so close to achieving last year. A successful ride this year will allow him to forever write his name in the annals of cycling history."
"Specialized approached me as they wanted to do a special edition bike for my last pro season, I said yes and now I have it and can say I'm really proud and happy of what they have done. I always said that I want to close the circle and end my career on a white bike, after starting it on white one as well, and Specialized gave me this great opportunity," said Tom Boonen.
"I really love it, with its paint job and golden touches, with the guardian angel on the top tube who I hope to protect me during this spring and with the "Heroes get remembered, but legends never die" aphorism. I'm excited to kick off the classics season with this outstanding bike," he added.
Photos © BrakeThrough Media
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.