Frans Claes has raced in the European Mountain Bike Championship – and secured a top ten finish.
The Belgian double champion has seen events hampered by the Covid -19 response. He was pleased to get his wheels turning. The 78 km race had a lot of challenges.
“The organization integrated 3 long technical downhills” Frans explained. “In other marathon races it’s not what we normally do. So it was a very demanding race for the whole body.”
Frans, who has been vegan since 2009, finished 10th in a world class field after fighting his way up from 17th. His finishing time was 4 hours 19 mins and 49 second, just over half a minute behind 9th with 8th just a minute ahead.
Performing at altitude
“I paced myself well from the start and I coped well with the altitude” says Frans. The course started at 1400 meters above sea level. The highest peak was 2500 meters of altitude, and in total the riders had to climb 3900 meters of elevation. “In the weeks before I tried to be as much as possible above 1700 meters of sea level and that helped me while racing my Santa Cruz mountain bike in the high Alps around Evolène. Also the downhills went pretty well as I did the effort to check the route multiple times.”
Frans has little time to rest as more is planned soon. He has the Dolomiti superbike on July 10th in Italy, then a week after the Summer bike marathon in Switzerland.
“Then the M3 mountainbike marathon in Austria followed by the Ischgl Iron Bike stage race over four days, also in Austria. Busy Summer times!”