Exclusive look: Armstrong's Big Apple Madone

Custom bike for the king of Gotham

Spy photos of Trek-sponsored athlete Lance Armstrong's custom Big Apple Madone popped up on the world wide web the same time he was announcing his return to the pro peloton at Interbike.

Armstrong's 58cm Pro Fit Madone was finished by Trek's own senior graphic artist Chad Bailey in a street graffiti style fitting for Armstrong, who has a place overlooking Central Park where he rides regularly in New York City. The 2009 Shimano Dura-Ace gruppo was installed well before Armstrong's investment deal with Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking (LBMB) and SRAM was finalised.

Like the custom Trek Madone and Equinox bikes used by Armstrong in the final stages of the 2005 Tour de France, the Big Apple Madone reflects Armstrong's personality, including his famous quote after stunning everyone with his mountain victory in Sestriere in 1999:  "how do you like them apples" on the underside of the down tube. His Mellow Johnny's bike shop name is included on the seat tube.

"The talent in the back room here at Trek rocks," said Trek's road brand manager Scott Daubert on Trek's "Up The Road" blog. "No, it's not for sale and no it will not be offered in Project One. It was built long before Lance announced his comeback so it has (Shimano Dura-Ace) instead of (SRAM) Red. We painted it up like this because Lance spends enough time in NYC to ride, so why not have a Big Apple themed bike?"

Those in the Austin, Texas area can check out the bike, now on display at Mellow Johnny's. Our bet is Armstrong is training on an Astana-issued Trek with SRAM Red these days.

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