Tom Boonen to use custom Specialized Venge disc bike in Omloop - Gallery

New ride commemorates Belgian's 15-year career

Amid the ongoing polemics over use of disc brakes in the pro peloton, including teammate Marcel Kittel's decision to forgo his own disc machine after possibly injuring another rider in a crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour on Thursday, Tom Boonen stepped forward to unveil his new 'Limited Edition' Specialized Venge disc bike Friday at the Quick-Step Floors press conference ahead of Belgium's "opening weekend."

Boonen will use the bike in Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Sunday's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in what will be his final Classics campaign before a planned retirement in April. Specialized designed the bike to commemorate Boonen's 15-year career, and a limited number of the bikes will be sold in bike shops that carry Specialized.

"Specialized approached me as they wanted to do a special edition bike for my last pro season," Boonen said. "I said yes and 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 as i started it on a white one, and Specialized gave me this great opportunity.

"I really love it with its paint job and golden touches. The guardian angel on the top tube will help protect me during this spring, and with the 'Heroes get remembered, but legends never die’ quote, I’m excited to kick off the classics season with this outstanding bike."

Eric Jepson, Component Graphic Design Manager at Specialized, said the bike's design is meant as a guardian angel for Boonen.

"The ‘angelic' inspired design originated as a concept to convey protection and guidance through the treacherous terrain of the Paris-Roubaix race, also referred to as 'The Hell of the North'," Jepson said. "The idea behind the design has since evolved to encompass the entire final season of Boonen’s legendary career, with the goal of carrying him safely to many victories."

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