Meet the cyclist who logged a six-hour training ride - without telling his coach - before winning World Championships

Daniel Abraham Gebru refuses to miss training days, even when he has a race

Daniel Abraham celebrating on the track with a clipping from Strava embossed on the picture
(Image credit: SWPix/Strava)

Dutch para-cyclist Daniel Abraham Gebru went on a secret six-hour training ride, before winning his first world title on track. 

The 38-year-old, a two-time Paralympic gold medallist, logged a 167km ride through the hills of South Lanarkshire on Strava, and then went on to triumph in the men’s C5 Scratch race last Thursday evening. 

“It’s Viviani style!” Abraham joked to Cycling Weekly. “He would race 200km and then win a race on the track. It was only an easy ride for me, so I could still race in the evening.” 

For most hobbyists, the Dutchman’s ride was far from easy. It took in almost 1,800m of climbing, and he went fast enough to score a new KOM on a short drag south of Glasgow. “Ok, on the hills, there was a little bit of intensity,” he conceded with a smile. 

Abraham did the ride on his time trial bike, and is hoping to win the men’s C5 individual time trial this Thursday. The Dutchman is one of the favourites for the event, in which he won Paralympic gold in Tokyo two years ago. 

“I didn’t want to miss that day [of training], because my focus is really on the road, the time trial, so I don’t want to miss that one,” he said. “My coach was here in the track [centre], busy with another athlete. I just went off on my ride. I couldn’t tell him I was going on a six-hour one, because he would never accept it.

“When I got back, I was like, ‘Yeah, I did six hours’,” he laughed. “He didn’t agree with it, but on the other side he said, ‘Yeah, it works for you, but not everybody can do that.’”

In the Scratch race later that evening, Abraham powered to victory off the front, but said he “didn’t really feel the pain”.   

The Dutchman's Strava shows he has been out on the Scottish roads almost every day at the World Championships. “It’s a beautiful landscape,” he said. “Also there’s good people, good drivers on the road. We in Holland don’t have hills, over there it’s flat. This is lovely.” 

Asked if he’ll do another training ride before the time trial, the Dutchman broke into laughter. “I’m going to lay on my bed,” he replied. 

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