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Bahrain-Merida team ride disc brakes in final week of flat Classics season

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A closer look at the front disc

A closer look at the front disc
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Merida has developed cooling fins to prevent the discs overheating

Merida has developed cooling fins to prevent the discs overheating
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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The hydraulic brake hose is routed internally through the left had fork

The hydraulic brake hose is routed internally through the left had fork
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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The SRM speed sensor and race timing chip are crudely attached to the fork

The SRM speed sensor and race timing chip are crudely attached to the fork
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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The wheels are paired with Continental Competition RBX 28mm tubular tyres to cushion the ride on the rough cobbles

The wheels are paired with Continental Competition RBX 28mm tubular tyres to cushion the ride on the rough cobbles
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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The Fulcrum 40mm aero wheels are the available in either rim or disc version

The Fulcrum 40mm aero wheels are the available in either rim or disc version
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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172.5mm crank arms for the Italian

172.5mm crank arms for the Italian
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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A standard gearing combination of 53/39T chainrings and an 11-28T cassette

A standard gearing combination of 53/39T chainrings and an 11-28T cassette
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Bonifazio has his saddle set back to the maximum limits

Bonifazio has his saddle set back to the maximum limits
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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chainstay brake location

chainstay brake location
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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The bike is equipped with an FSA K-Force seatpost and a Prologo Nago Evo saddle in custom colours

The bike is equipped with an FSA K-Force seatpost and a Prologo Nago Evo saddle in custom colours
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Bonifazio's Merida was equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 groupset and no SRM carbon cranks seen on other Bahrain-Merida bikes this season

Bonifazio's Merida was equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 groupset and no SRM carbon cranks seen on other Bahrain-Merida bikes this season
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Niccolo Bonifazio's Merida Scultura Disc

Niccolo Bonifazio's Merida Scultura Disc
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Only one rider on the Bahrain-Merida team rode Scheldeprijs with regular rim brakes

Only one rider on the Bahrain-Merida team rode Scheldeprijs with regular rim brakes
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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The bikes were equiped with non-seriesShimano BR785 levers, calipers and brakes. Only Tom Boonen rode with the new Shimano Dura-Ace disc brake groupset

The bikes were equiped with non-seriesShimano BR785 levers, calipers and brakes. Only Tom Boonen rode with the new Shimano Dura-Ace disc brake groupset
(Image credit: Josh Evans)

Bahrain-Merida lined up in Tom Boonen's hometown of Mol for the start of the 105th Scheldeprijs with only six of the allocated eight rider slots for the race taken. Five of these riders' Merida Scultura bikes were fully equipped with Shimano non-series disc brakes (Shimano BR-785). The decision to run disc brakes team-wide replicates a similar decision to last year's Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, when the then Lampre-Merida team also ran disc versions of the Merida Scultura for Three Days of De Panne, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

During the previous Sunday's Tour of Flanders, three Team Sunweb riders and a single Veranda's Willems Crelan rider rode on disc brake equipped bikes.

Whilst Bahrain-Merida line up with the non-series BR-785 disc brakes and levers, on Sunday two Team Sunweb riders were equipped with the new Shimano Dura-Ace disc brakes, whilst the final Team Sunweb rider was on the same non-series brakes as Bahrain-Merida are using for Scheldeprijs.

As well as Bahrain-Merida, Patrick Bevin and Will Clarke from Cannondale-Drapac were also on disc brakes at the start line. Quick-Step's Marcel Kittel began the race on his custom-painted rim brake version Specialized Venge ViAS, although Kittel's spare bike on the roof of the team car was equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace disc brakes and electronic 9100 series groupset.

Most notably, however, in the penultimate race of his career, Tom Boonen lined up in his hometown on his white-and-gold Specialized Venge ViAS with full Shimano Dura-Ace groupset and disc brakes. Boonen first won on a disc brake equipped Venge in January this year at Vuelta a San Juan.

The question is fast becoming not if the full WorldTour peloton will use disc brakes, but when.

Click or swipe through the gallery above to take a closer look at Niccolo Bonifazio’s Merida Scultura with disc brakes for Scheldeprijs.