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.