Vegan biker takes 5th mountain crown

Multiple national champion Frans Claes has achieved almost everything in sport – although the M3 Montafon Mountainbike Marathon win eluded him.

15 August 2023

“Since 2016 I have been trying to win this classic race” says Frans.  “I was never outside the top 4 since then but there was always a piece of the puzzle missing to cross the line first.”

That all changed with this year’s edition of the 130 km event.   The course included 4500 metres of height gain and included challenging terrain.

“I guess I am on a point in my career where I reached the optimum, not only physical, but also in terms of experience. Marathon riding is much more than pushing hard, it’s also knowing the course, the circumstances and above all, knowing yourself and what you are capable of.”

The race was also the Austrian championship.   Then Frans was off to the Ischgl, also in Austria.

One of the most scenic and toughest races, it includes 71 km and 3200 metres of height gain.  Another strong performance placed Belgian rider Frans 8th.

As a finisher of both races, Frans was one of several riders who contested the title of Silvretta King.  This is awarded to the rider with the fastest combined time for both races.  This was the 5th time Frans had taken this honour.


Frans went vegan in 2009.

“My main reason was for the climate and the effects meat production has on the climate, the nature and its ecosystems. Second, for the animals that have to suffer and to die for the human need for animal products. Third, because we save a lot of energy and can feed more people in this world if we want to.”

He eats a lot of wholegrains and seasonal vegetables, although he also welcomes a Belgian pancake and vegan chocolate, especially after a cold winter training session.