Some pro athletes get cars or motorcycles when they retire. Tom Boonen got this very special bike. Photo by ©BrakeThrough Media
When you race your bike for 15 years, win a record-tying four Paris-Roubaix titles, three Tour of Flanders crowns, plus a handful of Tour de France stages and one world championship, you get special things when you retire. For Tom Boonen, that means this special bike from team bike sponsor Specialized.
The limited edition Venge ViAS Disc aero road bike was designed specifically for the Belgian champion and debuted at last weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad where Boonen crashed twice and abandoned the race. Replicas of the bike will be sold in very limited quantities in bike shops that carry Specialized.
The four-wing feather tip design represents Boonen's four Roubaix victories. These are intended to be wings of a Guardian angel which will help carry him safely through the spring classic. (So far, not so good.)
Learn more about one of the fastest bikes in the WorldTour peloton.
Within the design on the seat tube is a phrase that reflects Boonen's greatness: "Hero's get remembered, but legends never die." This sentence recognizes his legendary status in the sport and how it will live on for eternity after his retirement.
Deep dish Roval CLX 64s help slice through the wind, though Boonen will likely choose something more forgiving for the cobblestone classics. Photo by ©BrakeThrough Media
"Specialized approached me as they wanted to do a special edition bike for my last pro season," explained Boonen before last weekend's race. "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 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."
Hopefully the bike does a better job of protecting its famed rider the rest of the spring, which will conclude with his last career race, April 9 at Paris-Roubaix.
Here's a closer look at the bike.