This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com
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.
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Five of these riders were on Merida Scultura bikes 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.
While Bahrain-Merida lined 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, while the final Team Sunweb rider was on the same non-series brakes that Bahrain-Merida used 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 Niccolò Bonifazio’s Merida Scultura with disc brakes for Scheldeprijs.