Vincenzo Nibali just got a new bike… and it’s made out of real gold

Check out Vincenzo Nibali's latest custom Merida Scultura ahead of the Giro later this week

Merida has unveiled "a rather special version" of the Merida Scultura ahead of the first stage of the Giro d'Italia later this week, and incredibly, it's has actual gold.

The bike, which was released at a Bahrain-Merida press conference earlier, is dedicated to Vincenzo Nibali's attempt to win the Giro d'Italia for a third time this year, and has been given a custom paint job in his honour.

We'd certainly describe is as bold paint job, but Bahrain-Merida is one for grandiose colour schemes –just checkout the paint job of their Rudy helmets and glasses.

Yup, that's actual goldleaf

The bike, however, is as much in honour of the actual race itself as it is of Nibali's attempt to win it.

The frame is painted black and gold in a spiral pattern, based on the trophy for the race. Within the gold bands are placed all the previous winners of the Corsa Rosa. Incredibly, the gold is made of real gold leaves, that are applied to the carbon frame before being protected by a clear coating.

Watch: Giro d'Italia 2017 essential guide

Painted on the head tube is the word "Centenario", alluding to the fact that this year's editions is the 100th anniversary of the great Italian race.

Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali is painted on both seat stays in gold lettering.

Adorned with the names of all the past winners

The bike is totally unique, and Nibali will ride it throughout the race.

The Bahrain-Merida team will have three bikes at their disposal as they try and take Nibali to the top step. Depending on the stage, they'll choose between the Scultura, the Merida Reacto and the Merida Warp TT bike.

It promises to be a hard fought and exciting race this time around, with Nibali, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa (Team Sky) as well as Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) contending for the win.

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