Mark Cavendish to attack the Tour de France stage record on a custom-painted Wilier Filante SLR

Colours to commemorate his biggest victories will inspire the 39-year-old as he heads into his final Tour hunting for a 35th stage win

Over the next three weeks starting this Saturday, Mark Cavendish will attempt to win his 35th Tour de France stage, breaking the all-time record of 34 that he currently shares with Eddy Merckx. He’ll be departing Florence on a special custom-painted Wilier Filante SLR designed to commemorate his greatest achievements in cycling.

The 39-year-old Manxman, who was knighted in the King's birthday honours this month, is quoted as saying: “The Filante SLR is the perfect bike for me, but I wanted something more. Everyone has their own taste and that's why I love to add my own touch to the bikes I use, as they have been an inseparable part of my professional life for 20 years now. On my last visit to Wilier HQ in March, walking around the company I saw a picture that struck me. I asked if it was possible to apply it to the front of Filante SLR, leaving the rear triangle black. After a couple of months I found myself handling this Filante SLR which is spectacular to say the least – perfectly in line with my expectations. They’ve done a great job, which has just given me extra motivation for my next Tour de France."

Wilier is already well known for its stunning paint jobs. Last year’s Astana-Qazaqstan bikes were arguably the prettiest in the peloton, with a metallic turquoise and silver fade that the Italian brand said was achieved via a “sophisticated hand painting process”. A year later, for Cavendish’s Tour swansong, Wilier has excelled itself.

The bar of Mark Cavendish's custom Wilier Filante SLR

Accompanying the light blue of the Kazakh flag is a Jackson Pollock-like explosion of colours referencing Cavendish’s victories in the Tour de France and the World Championship. The yellow, spreading out across the handlebar and splattering over the top tube and down tube of course represents the leader’s jersey, which Cavendish wore in 2016 when he won the Tour’s first stage at Utah Beach. He described winning the jersey as “phenomenal” and “emotional”. That was the only day he wore it, as the following day’s finish wasn’t one that suited him: at the top of the two-mile ascent of the Côte de la Glacerie above Cherbourg there was a section as steep as 14%.

Mark Cavendish looking at the head tube of his custom painted Wilier Filante SLR

Green is a colour much more commonly associated with Cavendish and one that he made his own: he won the points competition for the first time in 2011, then again 10 years later, wearing the green jersey numerous times in between and adopting it as his signature colour when he launched his own CVNDSH brand in 2013, riding a green-accented S-Works Venge at the Giro that year to celebrate his 100th career win. In 2016 the Met Manta aero helmet got the CVNDSH treatment, with a dark green metallic finish and green lines.

Mark Cavendish's Wilier Filante SLR with custom paint job side view

The darker blue, red and black recall the rainbow bands, which Cavendish has worn on his sleeves ever since he won the World Championship road race in Copenhagen in 2011. He is also a triple world Madison champion on the track, first winning in 2005 aged 19. The CVNDSH logo features on the fork blades while the seat tube and rear triangle are gloss black with just the Filante model name and Astana’s logo. Cavendish’s bike is built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace groupset and Miche aftermarket chainring, Vision Metron 60SL wheels and Vittoria Corsa Pro tyres. Whether he breaks the record or not, Cavendish is going out in style.

The limited edition paint scheme will be available to buy up until the end of 2024, though no pricing information was available at launch. Go to Wilier's website for more details.

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