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HomeTechnologyJan Bakelants targets 'no stress' at first Unbound Gravel 200

Jan Bakelants targets ‘no stress’ at first Unbound Gravel 200


Belgian breakaway artist Jan Bakelants makes his first trip to the United States this week to compete at Unbound Gravel 200. He retired from the pro road peloton after his 17th season in 2022 and wasted no time in fashioning a new getaway, on and off the bike. He’s pursuing a sports management degree, mixing in some off-road events in Europe, making a documentary on riding gravel and commentating on the Giro d’Italia for Belgian TV station VTM.

A trip to Kansas wasn’t at the top of the list a few short months ago. “There are so many places in the world you can visit. And yeah, Kansas probably wouldn’t be my first choice, because going [so far] comes at the cost of going somewhere else.

The opportunity is good, a quick stop and go,” Bakelants told Cyclingnews the day after he hit US soil in Kansas City on Tuesday. Read more Unbound Gravel 2023 Unbound Gravel 2023 route How Unbound Gravel went viral After Unbound there is no sightseeing, as he returns directly to Belgium. “It’s maybe better to arrive earlier and overcome the jet lag, and get used to the heat, but it’s also part of the experience.

” And why not make a splash at Unbound Gravel, the world’s most prestigious gravel race? Bakelants earned the biggest victory of his road career at the 2013 Tour de France, where his first pro victory on the WorldTour came on stage 5 in Corsica, and he wore the maillot jaune for two days. He may be the first yellow jersey winner to have raced in Emporia. “So I was how many years as a WorldTour rider, 12? I had my time to worry about performances and do as best as I possibly could.

Now it’s time to just enjoy it,” said Bakelants, who last raced two seasons on the top tier with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux . With a busy schedule off the bike, Bakelants said he didn’t train too much for Unbound, preferring to enjoy “no stress” as his second career develops. “My time was limited.

I take a class in sports management, and the exams were in the past month. I was recently commentating for the Giro, this past weekend, and because of this, I couldn’t travel earlier. The conditions are as they are, I take no stress.

Most important is to stay safe and out of trouble – no broken tyres, no broken chain – and you are pretty far along. ” The 37-year-old has a few UCI Gravel World Series events under his belt so far this year, his first to at gravel resulting in a sixth place at Gravel Fondo Limburg. He then finished 10th at 3RIDES Gravel Race.

Those races are much shorter than his Unbound endeavour on Saturday, the first two races averaging one-third of the distance of 205 miles, or 330km. “The UCI Gravel Series on the European scene is completely different because the format is shorter. There are a lot of pro riders, especially cyclocross riders as well.

I’m qualified for [UCI Gravel] World Championships , but let’s start with Unbound, and then we see later on what I will do. ” Support from Pearl Izumi, Factor Bikes, Garmin and Oakley have helped Bakelants make the trip to Kansas. And thanks to Daan Soete, a Belgian cyclocross rider who was third at 3RIDES, Bakelants made a few connections for the trip in Kansas for himself and videographer/photographer Ruben Van Gucht as they are working on a potential documentary about “the experience of discovering the American gravel scene, discovering Kansas.

We took some shots already and we will pick plenty more. ” Bakelants mentioned he would be interested in participating in Belgian Gravel national championships on October 15, the week after the Gravel World Championships in Italy. He plans to race one more World Series event in early October, La Monsterrato, which “it’s in wine country, so that sounds like a perfect match”.


From: cyclingnews

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