Piotr Havik racing at Gravel 150 UCI Gravel race

Piotr Havik Podiums at Gravel One Fifty UCI World Series

Classified Factory Team's Piotr Havik broke away from an elite field to solo onto the final step of the podium after 150km of attritional racing. We caught up with the Dutchman at the mid way point of the season to see how his form is and how the team is developing. 

Updating the MTB Lexicon with a new verb:

to Power·shift [Powershifting] {Verb}:
(also: the new benchmark in shifting gears)

1. To shift gears under full load within 150 milliseconds
2. Maintain valuable momentum during climbs and transitions, or before an attack

Classified: Hi Piotr, thanks for coming to the office. Congratulations on your 3rd place at the Gravel 150 race last weekend, how do you feel after your first podium with the Classified Factory Team?

Piotr Havik: The feeling is really great. The race came down to a small elite group, with 2 riders already quite far ahead in a small breakaway, which we weren't able to catch. Being able to drop the elite group and finish 3rd on my own, after a really tough race, felt a bit like a win. It’s a good sign that the hard work is paying off.

Talk us through your race, how did things play out? 

The early break started after 3km with some solo attacks and no reactions from the bunch. It didn’t look dangerous, so I waited and was patient. But it turned out these early attacks would stick. There was a group of around 50 riders for a long time, so very much battling for position and staying alert. The small group in front got a big gap as we didn’t work together and slowed quite a lot. There were too many contenders in our group to make a breakaway stick, with every attack being closed down. I knew I had good legs though, so I waited for my moment. With 20km to go I was able to make a breakaway with another rider, but then I missed a corner and the chance to bridge the gap was gone.

I waited until the final 5km and made my big attack. The gap to the front was 40 seconds and I was able to close it to 10 seconds by the finish line. So I was very close, but not close enough. Without the wrong turn it might have been possible, but I’m happy with the result. There was more in the legs at the end of the race, which is encouraging for the next races.

How did Powershift Technology help you in this race?

The biggest advantage was that I could run a 58t chainring up front. Everyone was really impressed (or thought I was crazy), but I explained that the average speed for this race is usually really high. It was a really big advantage as I was able to push the bigger gear and also maintain a really straight chain line throughout the race. And I could use the reduction gear to navigate the technical sections. Being able to shift down into the 0.7 ratio for tight turns or when crashes caused the group to slow suddenly meant that I could save loads of energy getting back up to speed, when others were really grinding and wasting their matches. 

Because it’s a flat race people think you wouldn’t need to use the Classified system, but it still has really big advantages when it comes to energy saving in these race situations. 

It must be a nice feeling to race in front of home fans again in the Netherlands?

My family came out to watch which was nice, and we all stayed together in a house nearby which really helps with mental preparation. Compared to Unbound in the USA where I was on my own, there is extra motivation to do well for your family and home fans. 

And the race turnout was incredible. I think there was something like 1000 extra starters on last year. It’s a huge indication of how fast gravel cycling is growing in the Netherlands.

And you had an unofficial Classified team to celebrate with after the race?

Yes that’s right, there were a number of people riding the Classified system at the race, including Stockbro as well as Nick and a few others from the office, so it felt like we had a small team, That’s the good thing about gravel. Everyone can race at their level, and then hang out at the end, with team sponsor Foodmaker on hand to take care of refuelling of course! 

You beat some top CX pros at Gravel 150. How have you found the competition level so far this season?

It feels good to beat those guys. Of course, they are specialists, and they are in training for their season, but it shows how much the level has increased in gravel racing. World Tour and CX pros can’t just show up at races like this and just easily win anymore. It’s awesome. Working with the Classified Factory Team and having the support of all the partners means that I can compete with these guys at the top level.


You’re racing in Poland this weekend at Gravel Adventure, another UCI event (22/23 July). Is this your first time racing in Poland?

I raced there last year and it was an awesome event. Unfortunately last year I had 3 or 4 flat tyres, so had to DNF when I think I had the legs for a podium. I know the course suits me very well, so I want to finish off the unfished business this weekend.

How does the race course at Gravel Adventure Poland suit the Classified system?

It’s a course with some climbs, so I won’t be able to run the 58t chainring, but I will have the benefit of the wider gearing range of Powershift Technology, which my competitors won’t have. The final section of the race has been made more technical, so I hope to have a big advantage by running the Classified system.

How is the Classified Factory Team developing? You have a new teammate with Daan Grosemans joining, how does that change things this season?

The first race we did together was Millau, and it makes a big difference having a team mate to help. Even just with organisation and travel, but it also makes the whole weekend more fun. You have someone to discuss the race with, plan tactics with, and also enjoy the feeling after the race. It increases the good vibes and adds a bit of positive energy which is always good. 

When we spoke at the beginning of the season, your goal was very much the Gravle World Championships in October. Is this still the case?

Yes, this is still the big goal. I feel like I am building into my top shape, which I hope to hold throughout August, for the Belgian UCI race in Houffalize. Then I will have a small break before going to altitude to get everything into the perfect place for the European and World Championships in October. 

You came 12th World Championships last year, how different will your preparation for the race be this season?

It couldn’t be more different this season. Last year I was still working in an office, trying to organise my own admin as well as training. I felt exhausted even before the race began. But this year I will spend all of September solely focusing on these races, with no other distractions. Thanks to the support of the Classified Factory Team I can have prefect preparation for the Gravel World Championships. I hope all of this will help me to an even better result than last year. 

Good luck in Poland this weekend Piotr, thanks for the catch up. 

You can follow Piotr’s season on his Instagram, as well as get Classified Factory Team updates via the Classified social feed