By Paul Norman
Bike sponsors love to provide their stars with bespoke paint jobs for the big races or to celebrate victories. So these are our picks of the custom pro machines rolled out so far this year.
Fernando Gaviria’s S-Works Venge ViAS
For Quick Step Floors’s Giro d’Italia sprint star, a custom sparkly purple aero machine was the order of the day. It looks super-sleek, but still quite understated with its mainly black components, although a black chainset and bar tape might have finished things off just that bit better.
Thibault Pinot’s Lapierre Aircode
We’re off to Lapierre’s launch of its new bike this week, so expect more details soon. But we really like the lines of Pinot’s machine, particularly the way the seatstays meld into the curvy seat tube. And the white and blue colour scheme looks great in the Mediterranean sun.
Steven Kruijswijk’s Bianchi Oltre XR4
OK, so it’s not a custom machine, but the Oltre just looks really smart in Bianchi’s signature celeste and black and we like the matched black components. And as Kruijswijk never got to wear pink this year, we didn’t have to suffer a repeat of 2016’s pink and celeste mash up.
John Degenkolb’s Trek Domane
We really liked Dege’s Café Racer Trek Domane, which Trek-Segafredo rolled out for the Classics.
The understated silver and black bike even came with bolt-on name plates. It’s designed to mimic Degenkolb’s favourite café racer motorbike. It’s just a pity that Dege never rocked up to the start line in leathers and a motorcycle helmet to complete the look.
Mathieu van der Poel’s Stevens Super Prestige
Another man getting a motorsport inspired ride this year was cyclocross star van der Poel. In his case, the bike was inspired by the BMW M Series performance cars and sported BMW roundels and detailing as well as a rev counter on its silver and white paintwork.
André Greipel’s Ridley Noah SL
Greipel’s Ridley Noah SL looks just the substantial aero machine for one of the peloton’s strongmen. Its beefy profile is well set off by the black and white colour scheme with its touches of red. And we love the matched bar tape and the gorilla logos on the head tube and the pedals.
We’ve yet to see it in custom colours, but the new Teammachine looks special enough in its standard red paintwork.
The spare, angular lines and industrial aesthetic look all set for more Grand Tour stage wins and a splash of custom design, following Tejay van Garderen’s Giro stage win in the Dolomites.
Tom Boonen’s S-Works Venge ViAS Disc
Another entry from Specialized, who rolled out a white and gold disc braked Venge ViAS for Boonen’s last few Classics. The bike came complete with a guardian angel on the top tube and the words “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die". Classy.
Vincenzo Nibali's Merida Scultura
We’re not so sure what we make of Nibali’s black and (real) gold Merida though.
Sure, the names of all the past Giro d’Italia winners, including Nibali’s name twice, were a nice touch. But the gold leaf ribbon and gold detailing were just a bit too bling for our taste.
And all that gold must have weighed him down. Was this the bike that lost him the Giro?
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