Laurens ten Dam, WorldTour hardman turned gravel racer

Life tends to calm down when a rider leaves the WorldTour. They get to invest more time with their household, life ends up being less regimented and more unwinded, and the world opens in an amazing (and in some cases frightening) method.

All of those things hold true for Laurens 10 Dam, however the Dutchman likewise appears to be busier than he ever was previously. The 39-year-old left the WorldTour behind when he retired at the end of 2019, however he relatively hasn’’ t decreased’a bit. He ’ s racing gravel, running occasions of his own — — when the world isn ’ t on lockdown a minimum of — working as a Specialized ambassador, hanging out with his kids, helming an effective podcast, and more. In other words, he’’ s a hectic male, however he wouldn’’ t have it any other method.

.Leaving the WorldTour.

Ten Dam invested 16 years racing as an expert. He got his start at the greatest level with Bankgiroloterij in 2004, prior to stints with Unibet, Rabobank and its followers, and Giant-Alpecin/Sunweb, prior to completing his profession with CCC in 2019. When he hung up his wheels, he did so as one of Dutch biking’’ s preferred kids — a real hardman as popular for his grit and pictures of his crash-mangled face as he was for his outcomes. And he had some outstanding outcomes along the method, not least ninth general at the Tour de France in 2014, and 8th at the Vuelta a Espana in 2012.

Looking back now, a number of months after his last race as a professional, Ten Dam mores than happy with the profession he had, however doesn’’ t miss out on the rigours of WorldTour racing.

““ Last year at Paris-Nice … … I composed a column about it, PTSS — — post terrible tension syndrome, that the soldiers have,” ” Ten Dam informed CyclingTips at the launch of the brand-new Specialized Diverge previously this year. Since the tier phases were like hell for me and I didn’t forget, “. Individuals ask me, did you miss out on “it? And here I am riding my bike in the sun and gravel … and after that we have lunch with a beer. No, I do not miss it. ”

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A now-iconic picture of Ten Dam after crashing on phase 14 of the 2011 Tour de France.

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He hasn ’ t left the world of professional racing behind totally however’. He still speaks routinely with fellow Dutch racers like Sam Oomen, Ramon Sinkeldam and Niki Terpstra, and he keeps a close eye on the outcomes sheet “ to see what my buddies are doing ”. And after that there ’ s his podcast, Live Slow Ride Fast , which to name a few things, is “ likewise about roadway racing still, due to the fact that I like it. ”

. Into the podcast world. When marketing specialist Stefan Bolt recommended the concept, #ppppp> Ten Dam ’ s endeavor into the world of podcasting started in 2017. 10 Dam had actually been an unique visitor at a customer function, riding with visitors and doing an interview about his time as a professional racer. That interview recommended there was an audience for Ten Dam ’ s insights.

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“ We had a barbecue with craft beer and wewent on a balcony like this and after that we had some type of an interview after the trip, ” Ten Dam remembered. “ It took 45 minutes and “everyone was still chuckling with us. He [ Bolt] phones me 2 months later on. It was September 2017. ‘ Why do not we do a podcast?’ ’ It was sort of early for podcasts, you understand, however I was currently listening to among Lance Armstrong — — then it was called The Forward. I stated ‘‘ Heck yeah. Why not?’ ’

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“ We both invested to make the very first 10 [episodes].”

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It worked out, and brought in a considerable audience. It appeared that Ten Dam and Bolt were onto something.

““ I believe part of the success was I was truly in the peloton still in 2018,” ” Ten Dam stated. “ I did 5 episodes right from [inside] the Giro and right from [inside] the Tour de France, even on the day of rest prior to breakfast or after the mountains phase. Due to the fact that I was embedded in the peloton rather of a press reporter exterior, and that’s what individuals liked. I did the race. It resembled a one-hour podcast directly after, for instance, the Froome phase, when he took the pink jersey.

““ So generally it removed from there. When we tape in Dutch it’s a constant 50,000 downloads each episode.””

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.View this post on Instagram.

De week werd gisteravond even vakkundig door de midden geknipt in de mancave. ?? Volle SD kaarten en lege flessen limoncello: dat barrel de avond wel zo’’ n beetje samen. Vandaag komt ie online #liveslowridefast #podcast

A post shared by Stefan Bolt (@steviethunderbolt) on Nov 1, 2019 at 12:49 am PDT

Ten Dam and Bolt were set to deal with Flanders Classics this year, doing podcasts from the similarity Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Tour of Flanders. Then coronavirus stepped in.

Thankfully, Ten Dam has actually had other jobs on the go, not least his venture into gravel riding.

.Gravel racing.

The rising appeal of gravel racing , especially in the United States, has actually been well recorded. 10 Dam isn’’ t some last-minute transform to the scene — — he ’ s existed, plying his trade for a couple of years now. It all started when he moved to the USA in 2016 .

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“ I constantly had the dream when I was young, to have kids late, and after that take a trip with the kids“prior to they needed to go to school, ” Ten Dam stated. “ And then biking got me and after that I improved and much better and got ninth in the Tour. “And after that I had a bad year and I broke my back and things like that. And I resembled, ‘ Oh fuck, where did the imagine 12 years ago [go] ’

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“ Riding the Tour de France perhaps, however likewise taking a trip.I was not“imagining being leading 10. I was not imagining making huge cash. I was not imagining all that. Then I stated to my better half ‘ we still can go to the United States, you understand? ’ And so essentially I telephoned my supervisor, Joao Correia — a Portuguese man living in the USA — I informed him, ‘ Stop all settlements in Europe. I go to the United States ‘. I ride for a domestic group. ’ And then he stated, ‘ Whoa, whoa, not so quick — what if you ‘reside in the United States and race still the Tour de France, [and a] little program in Europe? ’ I stated, ‘ OK, however I do not believe it’s possible to pull it off with a group since it’s the other method around. ’ But he did.

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“ He discovered Sunweb [Giant-Alpecin in 2016] and I just raced Paris-Nice, Catalunya, Swiss and the Tour in Europe and the rest I raced in the United States: the Tour of California and the Canadian races. ”

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Ten Dam at the 2016 Tour de France for Sunweb.

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Once embedded in the States, Ten Dam was eager to attempt his hand athis regional crits. The sport ’ s governing body had other concepts.

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“ I was residing in Santa Cruz and USA Cycling stated it’s not possible for me to do the crits as a WorldTour [rider], ” he stated. “ That’s why I began to do gravel racing. I was doing them currently 4 or 5 years back.

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“ And I did a shitload of gravel. I did Grinduro,“Grasshopper, I did Leadville — that’s where it began. ”

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To Ten — Dam it ’ s the happy-go-lucky ambiance of gravel racing that holds a lot appeal. To him, that ambiance is something of a tonic after the regimented severity of the WorldTour. He remembers one race — the incredibly called Tainthammer 500 — especially fondly for this extremely factor.

. Due to the fact that I was just living there for [#ppppp> “ I had just my roadway bike back then a bit] and Giant didn’t get me a cross bike yet, so I rode my roadway bike, ” Ten Dam stated. “ It was respectable on the gravel however then there were some muddy areas and I had inadequate clearance. And after that the race organizer, he leaps off his pickup, manages his t-shirt and he begins to clean my bike. No joking. And he states to me, ‘ I pull you back behind the vehicle right after the [mud] area. ’

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“ So behind the pickup, I return into the front group of 25 individuals.Everyone’s laughing, however they were not upset with me that I was drawn back by the organizer. We stopped, all 25 to soak my bike in a canal — all 25 — then we did another couple of areas and there was another muddy part. Very same occurs. The organizer states to me ‘ Look, Laurens, I wait for you once again at the end of the area. ’ But the area ends up to ‘be 20 k long. I was at the end of the area — no organiser. I began going solo.

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“ There was 5 — men in front and I resembled, ‘ OK, this is it for today. ’ Then after a couple of kilometres, I recall [and there ’ s] 5 people coming — ‘ hi, that may be the front group. ’ And they went the incorrect instructions. They captured me once again, chuckling.’ And after that my chain resembled * crunching sound *. One had chain lube with him — I was a novice and didn’t understand. We did my chain, we stop all — 5, we stopped at the last rest stop all together.

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“ And then the organizer is a fan of scotch bourbon. We all take a shot and then we race the last 10 miles and I beat them. There was no cash on the goal — it was simply dark with some beers. Me and a good friend from Santa Cruz — we had a tailgate barbecue. We took a barbecue in the back of our pickup. Which’s gravel.

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“ I hope that spirit stays; I hope it does not get too essential towin races. ”

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Ten Dam got a taste of gravel racing as a WorldTour pro. Here he is in action at the 2018 Strade Bianche.

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It ’ s maybe not a surprise that Ten Dam has actually discovered himself so in the house in the gravelscene. To him, it bears more than a passing similarity to his early years as a roadway racer.

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“ Nobody was having a logbook, no one was managing you, ” Ten Damstated. “ When you wish to go on the balcony for 3 hours you did, when you wish to choose an eight-hour flight due to the fact that you seemed like it, you did. No one was stating ‘ what are you doing? ’ And now it’s more rigorous, you understand? I’m more from the traditional. ”

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Like numerous who enjoy gravel racing ’ s profane, light-hearted nature, Ten Dam is stressed that beauty will vanish; that it will end up being too severe. That the win-at-all-costs mindset will deteriorate what makes gravel excellent.

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“ What I do not comprehend is a great deal of men, like for instance Ted King, they stop with the WorldTour [due to the fact that“] it’s too major, however they still ride with a power meter, ” he stated, chuckling. “ The very first thing I did was ditch it and simply ride my bike.

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“ What I am a little “bit scared of is that if you win something like [Filthy]. Kanza, it can alter your life, you understand? And after that cash is included. When you are a young kid and you win Kanza it will alter your life so you can be a professional as a bicyclist. I’m uncertain if that’s an advantage, however I hope the spirit of gravel remains the very same. ”

. . Back to his roots.

Gravel doesn ’ t simply advise Ten Dam of his’early days as a roadway racer; it takes him back to his time as a kid. It advises him why he began riding a bike in the very first location.

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“ I like to check out — Ibegan“cycling since of that, ” he stated. “ I was a little kid and it made my “world a lot larger since I might go someplace my buddies could not go due to the fact that I had a bike, a genuine race bike.

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““ I did a 40 k loop when I was 12-13 years of ages on my own without a phone, so it made my world larger. Which’s still the important things for me. It’s checking out. Which’s why I like to go to Kanza. Why would I go to Kanza without having Dirty Kanza? You need to have an objective. That’s why I went to the United States. Since of the bike, that’s why I have such great sensations for Santa Cruz in the United States.

““ The bike simply made my world larger. That’s why I’m here now on this balcony which’s what I like about the bike. Which’s what I likewise wish to teach my kids. You understand, provide a bike and after that simply check out the world and go.””

Be sure to take a look at Dave Everett’s interview with Laurens 10 Dam, at the top of this short article.

The post Laurens 10 Dam, WorldTour hardman turned gravel racer appeared initially on CyclingTips .

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