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Van Aert and Terpstra take part in monster 320km 'Dirty Kanzelled' gravel ride

Joe Robinson
1 Jun 2020

With no racing, pro riders are getting creative with their training

While some professional riders have been tackling the heady heights of the 'Everesting' challenge during lockdown, the likes of Wout van Aert and Niki Terpstra spent their time away from racing ticking off something a little different.

The duo were among many riders who spent their weekends recreating the epic 320km Dirty Kanza gravel race.

Following the postponement of the race from its original date on 30th May until September, former WorldTour pro Laurens Ten Dam decided to create the 'Dirty Kanzelled'.

The concept asked for riders to create their own 200 mile gravel rides close to home, respecting local social distancing guidelines, in the spirit of the notoriously difficult event.

Van Aert ticked off the 320km of gravel riding with Jumbo-Visma teammate Marteen Wynants and cyclocross pro Daan Soete, setting off at 6am, tracing a markedly flat route in northern Belgium near Van Aert's Herentals base.

The trio averaged a speed of 28.6kmh, according to Van Aert's Strava file, that saw them pedalling for 11 hours and 17 minutes with an elapsed time of 13 hours and 10 minutes.

Being in Belgium also paid off in that despite covering the distance of London to Manchester, the route only clocked 564m of vertical elevation. 

'We did 320km and as much as possible off-road, that was the intention. We made our own route because today it was normally the Dirty Kanza. It seemed a nice challenge for us to participate in something like this during this period. And yes, it was fun,' Van Aert told Het Laatste Nieuws.

'The route wasn’t ideal, but I like to do that. You also need some preparation to get your bike in order so that you can bring enough [supplies]. You were supposed to stop only twice. That was half the fun already. And by doing this, you notice that you miss those challenges, so this was a good replacement.'

Meanwhile, north of the border in the Netherlands, Direct-Energie's Terpstra joined Ten Dam, cyclocross racer Thijs Al and Continental road rider Ivar Silk for their own version of 'Dirty Kanzelled'

Photo: Niki Terpstra's Strava

The Dutch foursome took off from the windswept city of Alkmaar on a long loop around the capital of Amsterdam. Unlike Van Aert, their route was practically mountainous with its 977m of elevation.

We suspect all that added elevation contributed to Terpstra's slower average speed of 27.1kmh, seeing him on the road for 11 hours 57 minutes.

What's more, Terpstra's Strava ride also predicts the Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner burnt through 13,000 calories throughout the rider, quite the day in the saddle.

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