This piece has been made in association with Wilier Triestina.
Nibali rode his custom-painted Wilier 0 SLR for the last 257 kilometres of his career, ultimately crossing the finish line in Como to distinctly Italian celebration from fans across the world.
Indeed, Nibali electrified WorldTour races and beyond for 17 years and the 0 SLR featured custom paint as a nod. “Not just a successful career, but also our sense of gratitude for giving us so many thrills along the way,” said Andrea Gastaldello, president of Wilier Triestina. “A bicycle manufacturer’s job is undoubtedly technical. But as technical as it may be, the feelings of those who dedicate themselves to a project always shine through.”
Coming with Corima wheels, Shimano Dura Ace components, and Wilier Triestina’s integrated handlebar and stem, Nibali’s 0 SLR rolled to the starting line built as a tool fit for the elite. But it was dressed up in its finest garb, tailored to Nibali himself.
The base colour for Nibali’s celebratory ride was blue, which represented the colours of his fan club in his hometown of Messina. The seat tube and seatpost featured a splash of cycling’s most weighty colour: yellow, for Nibali’s successes at the 2014 Tour de France.
The pink fork perhaps carried the most significance for Italians, as it represented Nibali’s two Giro d’Italia wins. And the subtle hints of red on the chainstays celebrated Nibali’s 2010 Vuelta a España win.
Less obvious were the subtle touches that tell the story of the ardour that comes with battle. Stars were scattered throughout the frame to represent each day Nibali wore the leader’s jersey in Grand Tours. And no tribute to Nibali would be complete without the notorious shark, il Squalo, which lives on the top tube just behind the stem.
It is fitting that Nibali drew his career to a close at the Giro di Lombardia, a race he has won twice. A monumental career capping at one of the most hallowed monuments was sweet; doing it in his home country was even sweeter.
Wilier Triestina honoured Nibali in the hope of carrying him through his last kilometres as a pro as he carried cycling fans through nearly two decades of thrills and victories. “The Wilier 0 SLR that he rode is unique and our greatest show of appreciation,” said Gastaldello.
The company paid tribute to Nibali in the best way it knows how. In Wilier Triestina’s headquarters in Veneto, history, honour, and hard work come together in a simple statement, emblazoned on the wall: Ecco il frutto del nostro lavoro: biciclette.
This is the fruit of our labour: bicycles.