A avenue bike acquire the gravel worlds | Gianni Vermeersch’s gravel-tuned Canyon Ultimate CFR

“Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch soloed to victory to claim the men’s rainbow jersey on the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships – using an avenue bike.

Having hooked up a -guy breakaway with Italy’s Daniel Oss with 130km of the 194km direction to race, Vermeersch attacked with 10km last aboard a Canyon Ultimate CFR shod with Vittoria Terreno Dry tubeless gravel tyres (33mm on the the front, 35mm on the rear).

Vermeersch’s Alpecin-Fenix team-mate and pre-race tip Mathieu van der Poel completed 0.33 to spherical out a podium ruled with the aid of using WorldTour professionals, in a race that favoured the street stars dipping their toe into gravel, over the gravel specialists, together with 2022 Unbound winner Ivar Silk.

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That became pondered in gadget choices, too. With the simplest 800m of mountaineering and tough-packed conditions, a few riders opted for avenue frames and gearing, with gravel tyres swapped in, over expert gravel machines. (We noticed the identical fashion in the elite women’s race).

Vermeersch, who reduce his tooth in cyclocross, and van der Poel had been some of the WorldTour professionals at the place to begin on avenue bikes, at the same time as Oss (and Peter Sagan) had been using a Specialized Roubaix patience avenue bike with gravel tyres.

An Ultimate in gravel disguise

Gianni Vermeersch and Daniel Oss broke clean with 130km last at the 2022 Gravel World Championships. Canyon / Tornanti 202

Canyon has gravel structures in its range: the Grail, whole with double-decker handlebar, and Grizl, aimed toward extra rugged use and bikepacking.

It’s an evolutionary replacement of the preceding Ultimate, with diffused aero tweaks and, crucially as some distance as this race became concerned, elevated tyre clearance.


Canyon has a maximum tyre clearance of 32mm however, as is commonly the case, there’s room to run a bigger tyre than what the logo formally recommends.

Vermeersch’s mechanic squeezed in 35mm rubber on the rear and 33mm on the the front, thanks to the tighter fork clearance, consistent with Bici da Strada.

Vermeersch maxed out the Ultimate’s clearance with a 33mm tyre on the front and 35mm on the rear. Canyon

The loss of each mountaineering and technical terrain on the inaugural UCI-sanctioned Gravel World Championships has positioned the occasion at odds with trailblazing gravel races along with Unbound.

However, the evolution of the great avenue bikes – extensively the adoption of disc brakes and the elevated tyre clearances which have followed – has enabled top-tier race machines to become characteristic when, only a few years ago, an occasion like this had been the hold of cyclocross or gravel bikes.

The CFR is Canyon’s top-tier frame. Canyon

The Vittoria Terreno Dry tyres utilised by each Vermeersch and van der Poel had been a famous choice throughout the men’s and women’s elite races on the gravel worlds – and are some of the great gravel tyres we’ve tested.

The tube shapes had been subtly tweaked for 2023. Canyon

The tyre functions as a scaled sample at the centre strip, blended with an extra suggested tread at the shoulders..

As the call suggests, that is a tyre for dry conditions, with Vittoria describing it as a choice that bridges the distance among a document tread tyre and extra competitive all-climate rubber.

Belgian Vermeersch rides each avenue and cyclocross – and now gravel. Canyon

Vermeersch ran the tires tubeless on fixed low-profile Shimano Dura-Ace C36 wheels.

Flat-out fast

Road gearing for Vermeersch. Canyon /

The 29-year-old’s gearing became a consultant of the quick direction, with an avenue setup – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with a double crankset – over gravel-unique gearing.

Vermeersch became the use of semi-compact 52-36t chainrings, though, and the 11-34t cassette now to be had with Dura-Ace ensured the correct unfolding of gears for avenue and off-avenue use.

Other spec information encompass Canyon’s Aerocockpit, with a 110mm stem and handlebar that may be adjusted among 390mm and 430mm.

There’s additionally a Selle Italia Flite Superflow saddle.

On the Elite Prism bottle cage established to the down tube, you could additionally see a Vittoria Pit Stop package, in the case of Vermeersch requiring hasty inflation in a race without the beneficial mechanical guide visible in WorldTour avenue races.

Subtle tweaks

Back to the Ultimate, and the geometry of Canyon’s up to date all-rounder has been tweaked to fit that of the Aeroad aero bike.

In phrases of aero improvements, the Ultimate’s tubes are barely extra angular than the outgoing version, and that’s maximum significant under the fork crown.

Canyon claims a drag saving of 5 watts at 45kph, at the same time as the fork layout yields a fifteen percent increase in stiffness, consistent with the German logo.

Regardless of these claims, it’s proved itself to be a flexible gadget with Vermeersch aboard.

When did an avenue bike come to be a gravel bike?

Sources: Bikeradar.

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