After months of turning the pedals around Europe, professional cyclists use the winter months to take some well-earned time off the bike.
But in order to maintain fitness, and probably because sitting around the house after months of endless cycling is unlikely to come naturally, many riders turn to lacing up a pair of running shoes and heading back outside to brave the winter weather.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Given the sporting context, the most obvious and important question is: which pro is the fastest?
Of the available Strava data we’ve found, here are a number of top pros and their running times as they head out for jogs in various enviable locations around the world.
Greg Van Avermaet
Ok, maybe we can forgive Greg for having the slowest time out of the riders we found as he’s labelled his effort as a run/walk. A pace of over six minutes per kilometre isn’t anything to write home about, so it’s more likely the Belgian was taking in the views on the Balearic coast and who can blame him.
With Van Avermaet and Kristoff not putting in swift times, it seems the turn of pace needed to be a fast man in the peloton doesn’t translate to pounding the pavements.
His run around the city of Stavanger in his native Norway was quicker than Van Avermaet’s time, but a pace of just over five minutes per kilometre for a total distance of under 8km is something members of the armchair peloton could likely match.
Another picturesque setting for a short jog (do you see a theme emerging here?) as Ineos’ Owain Doull runs along the northern coast of San Francisco, taking in both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
A richly deserved break after completing his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España this year, and why push yourself too hard on your holidays? This effort appears to be a 24-minute 5km run to work up an appetite for some west coast seafood.
Back to Europe with Tiesj Benoot, who completed a rather ominously named ‘survival run’. Is this some sort of Tough Mudder event? That would be perfect training for the spring Classics come to think of it, and a pace of 4-56 over 14km would also be rather impressive in those conditions.
Pinot returned to his bike in August after his heartbreaking abandon of the Tour de France when victory was in sight.
As the Frenchman focuses on getting back to his previous level before the 2020 French Grand Tour he has been stomping around the foot of the Vosges mountains both on bike and foot.
A pace of 4-29 over 11km is decent, and how great would it be if he kept getting quicker and delivered the French a first Tour title in 35 years?
Our third Belgian is also the quickest. Classics specialist Naesen cracked out 13.66km in an hour in Flanders as he looks toward securing his first spring victory, having come close last year with a second place at Milan – San Remo as well as a number of other top 10 finishes.
Coming out on top is Denmark’s Michael Valgren, running a 10km with a pace of 4-21 around Monaco. Sea views and temperate weather must have put a spring in his step as the 2018 Amstel Gold winner posted the quickest pace of our selection.
It’s likely most of the pros above could shave a vast amount of time off of the times they posted if they really went for it, but the Strava running data we’d all still really like to see is how quickly they can run up Mont Ventoux in a pair of cleats à la Chris Froome, right?