UCI Gran Fondo Champion Maxim Pirard and Pro rider Oliver Naeson complete 365km ride

2019 Gran Fondo World Champion and Gran Fondo Casablanca winner Maxim Pirard and training partner Oliver Naesen of AG2R La Mondiale clocked up a marathon 365km 12 hours ride around Flanders

UCI Gran Fondo Champion Maxim Pirard and Pro rider Oliver Naeson complete 365km ride

While riders in France, Spain and Italy stay indoors to help fight the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus, Belgium's Oliver Naesen of AG2R La Mondiale and his regular training partner UCI Champion Maxim Pirard put in a msssive 365km ride around Flanders.

With most teams telling their riders to back off from training, after all te Spring Classics being postponed or cancelled, Naesen wanted to go for one big ride.

"I actually really needed it. If you look at your mobile phone or watch TV, you only hear or see things about the coronavirus. That's not nice," he told Sporza.

"We cycled for 12 hours and paused for about 40 minutes. We have been at a bakery 3 times to eat donuts. The intensity was really low, we rode and chatted, we never accelerated after a bend."

Naesen and Pirard left home in Teralfene, just west of Brussels, at 5:30 am in the dark and finished at 6:00pm; with Strava data showing they completed a long loop of Flanders, following the regional border of East Flanders. The pair averaged 30.4km/h, with Naesen averaging 182 watts. Pirard was a stagiaire with Bahrain-Merida in 2018 and is the current world Gran Fondo champion.

“All energy comes from your body fat, you don't have to eat much. I wasn't hungry yesterday, even last night. During the training I ate 3 Berlin ball donuts and some gels. I consumed 8,000 calories, so the mirror test is still okay,” Naesen explained.

"Did I sleep well? Fantastic," Naesen told Sporza, "Like a stone. I even fell asleep in the couch last night. It was a blissful night."

"My legs definitely feel great. It makes no difference. This was not a crazy achievement. For a long time it was a relaxed ride to empty your head. I wouldn't recommend it to my parents, but colleagues can definitely try this out."

"Every day is like a Sunday now, you have to exercise with the them of having fun."

Naesen has emerged as one of Belgium's best Classics riders finishing second to Julian Alaphilippe at last year's Milan-San Remo, was third at Gent-Wevelgem and seventh at the Tour of Flanders.

"It is so strange. Normally this is the period of super focus, and now the fire has gone out. I'm in winter mode, I see myself fattening day after day. When I heard that the classics were canceled, I immediately decided: Okay, it's now time for some deep-frying.' But I'm 29. This is really not the time for that. I'm in my strongest years." 

Tag: ucigfws
Aug 09 2021 - NEWS: 2021 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships Time Trial Course Starts in Pale
Aug 18 2021 - NEWS: Former Tour de France rider Hoogerland wins UCI Gran Fondo in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Jul 14 2021 - NEWS: UCI Gran Fondo World Series visits Victoriaville, Quebec this September
Jul 08 2021 - NEWS: Bialoblocki does the double as Hall and Gogolewska shine in UCI Warsaw
Jun 10 2021 - NEWS: Autumn events added to the UCI Gran Fondo World Series calendar
Apr 29 2021 - NEWS: 2021 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships move to Sarajevo in October
Feb 16 2021 - NEWS: National Champion Jerseys awarded during UCI Gran Fondo Australia
Feb 06 2021 - NEWS: 500 riders finish the 2021 UCI Gran Fondo Australia
Jan 09 2021 - NEWS: 2021 UCI Cyprus and Greece Gran Fondos delayed due to COVID
Dec 09 2020 - NEWS: Gran Fondo Australia will launch the 2021 UCI Gran Fondo World Series Championship
Dec 03 2020 - NEWS: UCI Cyprus Granfondo offers full refund up to 14 days before march
Oct 17 2020 - NEWS: 2021 UCI Gran Fondo World Series Calendar Announced
Sep 26 2020 - NEWS: Denmark and Melbourne to host UCI Gran Fondo World Championships
Jun 26 2020 - NEWS: 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships Officially Cancelled
Mar 31 2020 - NEWS: UCI Gran Fondo World Series confirms further postponements in 2020
Sep 15 2016 - RESULTS: Record 5,500 riders at 6th Edition of Amys Gran Fondo
Sep 04 2016 - RESULTS: 17 new UCI Gran Fondo World Champions in Australia
Jun 06 2016 - RESULTS: 8,000 cyclists take part in the UK Tour of Cambridgeshire UCI Gran Fondo
Jun 09 2019 - EVENT: L'Albigeoise
Feb 21 2020 - EVENT: UCI Granfondo Casablanca
May 31 2020 - EVENT: UCI Gran Fondo CRC506 Costa Rica
Jun 05 2020 - EVENT: Gran Fondo San Luis Potosi
Feb 04 2021 - EVENT: Gran Fondo Australia
Mar 12 2021 - EVENT: Bathurst Cycling Classic
Apr 04 2021 - EVENT: Bedrock Gravelfest Cyprus
May 16 2021 - EVENT: Granfondo Russia Sergiev Posad
Jun 05 2021 - EVENT: Granfondo Russia Volokolamsk
Jun 06 2021 - EVENT: 0-2000 Cycling Challenge
Jun 13 2021 - EVENT: Maraton Franja
Jun 27 2021 - EVENT: Granfondo Russia Polenovo
Jul 03 2021 - EVENT: Bitwa Warszawska Tour
Jul 11 2021 - EVENT: Granfondo Ezaro
Jul 11 2021 - EVENT: Tour de Brisbane