World champion Ils van der moeren with Classified equipped bike

Granfondo World Champion Ils Van der Moeren - Winning with Classified!

Ils Van der Moeren is a Classified athlete racing for the Grinta Gran Fondo cycling team. She has been riding with Powershift Technology for almost 3 years, winning almost every race she enters. On the 4th of August she won the Gran Fondo World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. We caught up with Ils after the race to hear all about it.

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 Ils, congratulations on winning the Gran Fondo World Championships in Scotland. How does being World Champion feel?

Ils Van der Moeren: It feels very good. It was my last chance to ride the Gran Fondo event and win the jersey. Next year I will be 50 so the rules state that I will have to ride the Medio Fondo. I am very happy to be World Champion.

Talk us through the race.

There are four groups for the women in the Gran Fondo, separated by age and set off at 5 minute intervals. My group was set off last, but by around 45km I had caught up to the front group of younger women. The age groups all merged as the strongest riders from all four groups came together at the front. When I caught the group, they weren’t really riding hard. The majority of the climbing for the whole course was in the first 40km and it was very windy. We were in a big group, which I’m not really used to. I could see that there were a lot of women in this group who were very used to racing, and they wanted to ride as a bunch. I prefer to ride solo so I tried to ride at the front of the group and to attack, but no one would let me go. The younger riders were not in my age group, so I wasn’t worried about them. After 100km I spotted two other women from my age group who were also in the bunch, so they were my main concern. Towards the end of the race around ten riders from the younger group made a gap of 500m, but it came back together again and the group of about 40 riders came to the finish together. I’m not really used to a bunch sprint, but I knew that the Canadian rider from my age group was still there, so I just made sure to outsprint her. It’s not my normal way of riding but it got the job done and I won the World Championship.

The route was a bit different to the long climbs you usually ride, did you prepare any differently for this race?

The climbs were much shorter than I’m used to, but I didn’t prepare any differently. I did have to adjust my race strategy, when it was clear I wouldn’t be able to breakaway from the group.

How did the Classified system perform in the road race? Was it a big benefit?       

For sure it was a really big benefit. I found myself using the Powershift gear a lot more in this race. Because the hills were short and steep and because I didn’t know the course, I had to react very quickly to changes in gradient and terrain, the Classified system is great for this. I was only able to recon the course the day before, so the system was very beneficial. Normally I am used to races with longer climbs, so I can just shift into the 0.7 ratio and let the added efficiency go to work. At the World Championships I had to be more active with using the system. It certainly didn’t let me down!

When did you first discover Classified?

I have been riding the system for over 2 years now. My office was neighbours with the old Classified office in Turnhout, so I’ve been a fan and a user since the beginning. Interestingly I have been riding the same Powershift hub unit with no issues since then. I have also been using the same chain and the same cassette for the last maybe 2 years. I haven’t ever had any problems with the hub. 

How many kilometres have you ridden in that time?

Oh, I don’t know, but a lot. Definitely over 20,000km. Maybe even over 30,000km. I ride a very smooth cadence, so that helps, but I am able to keep a much straighter chain line with the Classified hub. It says a lot about the durability of the Classified system.

"I have also been using the same chain and the same cassette for the last maybe 2 years. I haven’t ever had any problems with the hub. "

"Because the hills were short and steep and because I didn’t know the course, I had to react very quickly to changes in gradient and terrain, the Classified system is great for this."

Alongside the World Championships, you have been winning many other races with the Grinta team. How do you think the system has helped you to succeed?

I can feel the efficiency gains when I ride, especially on the climbs. I am able to ride a 50 tooth chainring on the front all the time, so even when I’m in the 34 virtual ring (0.7 ratio), the system is working to my advantage. When I see my competitors shift into their small ring, I know that I am more efficient than them. So not only does it give me a mechanical edge, but it’s also a big mental advantage too. 

What’s your favourite benefit of the Classified hub?

I would say being able to shift under full load, and that there are no surprises when shifting. It works every time, and It’s so much better than the traditional 2x system. Changing the wheelset over is also very easy, there is very little no mechanical knowledge or technical assistance needed. I have two R35 wheelsets and one Powershift hub. I can easily switch the hub between the wheelsets if I need, which is very nice.

Do you get a lot of your competitors asking about Classified?

Every time I ride a race, I get questions about Classified. And the dealers who are working on the trade stands at the races, they also ask me if they can test my bike. There is a lot of interest in Classified. 

What are your goals for the rest of the 2023 season?

At the end of next week, I will race the Kitzbühel Rad Marathon. It’s a Gran Fondo in the Alps, 180km with 4000 metres of elevation gain. The last climb is very steep, the Kitzbüheler Horn. It’s 7km at an average of 10%. I’m hopeful that my World Champions jersey will arrive in time so I can debut it here.

And any goals for 2024 yet?

Not yet, but maybe I will race the Worlds in Denmark. I will race a similar calendar to this year, but I try to race a few new events each year. There are more and more smaller events now, which are often really beautiful and very well organised. There are often local attractions and involvement of the people in the area, so it feels very organic. I like that a lot. 

What is your favourite event in the calendar? 

My favourite race is the Otztaler Rad Marathon. It's the environment and the mountains, and that the whole town comes out to celebrate the race, it’s really beautiful. When you arrive after 235km the whole town is there cheering for you. The organisation is the best – they close the roads, and even clean them before the race. It’s very authentic and not commercial like some of the bigger events. 

With the Classified Factory Team taking off would you consider gravel racing?

Yes definitely. From October until March I only ride my mountain bike, so I already ride off-road a lot. I think training and riding off-road is very important, to improve technique as well as fitness. I certainly hope to ride some gravel events this year, definitely with the Classified system. 

Thanks for sitting down with us Ils and congratulations again on becoming World Champion. Good luck for the race in Kitzbühel, we look forward to seeing more great results for the rest of this year. You can follow Ils' season via the Classified Instagram account.