Tom Boonen has kicked off his cobbled Classics campaign, and the final couple of weeks of his career, on a new, custom-painted Specialized Tarmac bike, equipped with Shimano's new Dura Ace 9100 groupset.
The Belgian, who will retire after Paris-Roubaix on April 9, raced on a black Venge Vias earlier in the season, but has switched to a white Tarmac for the spring classics, starting with Milan-San Remo last weekend, E3-Harelbeke on Friday, and Gent-Wevelgem today. The frame is decorated with gold accents, and the back of the seat tube bears the words 'Heroes get remembered, legends never die'.
Boonen has been equipped with the new Shimano Dura Ace 9100-series groupset, though interestingly he is back on traditional rim brakes after hitting the headlines at the start of the season by becoming the first pro to win a road race on disc brakes. He is pairing the rim braking with electronic shifting, meaning the specific groupset he's running is Dura Ace 9150.
Boonen is likely to keep the bike for his final Tour of Flanders next Sunday, though it remains to be seen if he chooses to go with Specialized's cobble-specific Roubaix frame for some or all of the Hell of the North a few weeks later.
Cyclingnews grabbed some photos of Boonen's striking white and gold bike at the start of Gent-Wevelgem this morning, and you can check it out in the gallery above.