Road Gear

Tech milestone: Boonen wins first race with disc-brake bike

Tom Boonen becomes the first rider to win a major UCI pro road race aboard a bike with disc brakes.

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Tom Boonen’s 113th pro win wasn’t entirely remarkable at face value, but it stood apart because of the bike he rode — a bike equipped with disc brakes. Although disc brakes have been introduced to the pro road peloton in fits and starts, Tuesday marked the first time (we believe) that a UCI pro road race was won on discs.

Boonen sprinted to victory in stage 2 of Vuelta de San Juan in Argentina, and he was riding a Specialized S-Works Venge Vias disc.

Based on his gushing Instagram post, it seems Boonen was pleased with both the win and the bike.

In early 2016, riders began riding disc-brake bikes at pro races, part of the UCI’s trial period for the technology. The trial was suspended, however, when then Movistar rider Fran Ventoso crashed at Paris-Roubaix and said that a disc brake rotor was the cause of a serious gash on his lower leg. Ventoso blasted the discs as “giant knives, ‘machetes.’” Ahead of 2017, the UCI decided to restart the disc brake trial, but a leaked poll, conducted by the CPA riders association indicated that interest was lukewarm at best among the pro cyclists who responded.