Twelve months ago Laurens Ten Dam could have been found mere millimeters from the smooth rubber of the rider in front of him in the World Tour peloton. Now he’s switching smooth rubber for knobblier tyres with his alternative gravel programme in partnership with SHIMANO.
Not only will he be putting SHIMANO GRX to the test in some of the most demanding Gravel races on the planet, he’ll also be helping to promote the gravel scene in general with some high profile appearances. The first of which comes in a new video where Laurens explores the alternative side of Flanders, navigating his way across the Belgian bergs and the cobbled streets via gravel paths.
Ten Dam’s adventure, filmed before Covid-19 restrictions were in place, sees him go in search of an Alternative Flanders route in the company of his podcast co-host Stefan Bolt and gravel adventurer Paul Errington.
Over two days these three riders crisscrossed the fields of Flanders to tackle some of the most famous climbs. One ex-pro, two under-trained friends, freezing wind and rain, and a roll-with-the-punches attitude. What could possibly go wrong?!
In fact, mechanically speaking, nothing went wrong – Ten Dam was aboard his Specialized Diverge with a dedicated gravel drivetrain (Shimano GRX Di2 2x11), powered through Shimano RX8 gravel shoes, and topped off with a PRO Discover handlebar bag and frame bag – it was their adventurous attitude that almost got the better of them.
You can read more about their adventure on our Shimano Gravel blog here.
Ten Dam is no stranger to Shimano, having ridden Dura-Ace during his career on the road. He switched to GRX in 2019 but he’s been riding gravel for a lot longer: “Even as a pro I often used a gravel bike for training. In 2016 I lived in Santa Cruz, California which is where I first got hooked. When I returned to Europe I tried to find the same thrill and I often took my bike to places like the Belgian Ardennes or the Eifel region of Germany to explore the forests. At the time there weren’t many other people doing it but I fell in love with everything about that type of riding.”
Not only will Ten Dam be fronting Shimano gravel videos he will also be partnering with Shimano on gravel events such as LTD Gravel Fest and LTD Gravel Raid, the Dutch event series that he lends his name to.
“These days there are so many more gravel products and gravel riding opportunities, from events to adventures on your doorstep. For sure gravel is gaining a great audience. I’m really excited about introducing as many people as possible to what a gravel adventure can be,” concludes Ten Dam.
For more on Laurens Ten Dam’s events, adventures and podcast series, visit https://www.liveslowridefast.com
3. Video link: https://youtu.be/tAqCy9qfcX0
4. Embed code: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tAqCy9qfcX0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
5. Further Shimano press releases: See the media centre here: https://media.shimano-eu.com
6. About Shimano Europe: Founded in 1921, Shimano is dedicated to helping its customers get closer to nature, supporting people to realize their dreams and create new lifestyles. That comes with the desire to create outstanding cycling products and apparel. With almost 100 years’ experience in creating internationally renowned bicycle components, Shimano is proud to have developed products that continue to take countless athletes to victory and provide the means for limitless global bicycle journeys. For more information see www.shimano.com.