The former road riding star has turned to gravel in 2022. Campagnolo catch up with the Australian to talk new horizons, greatest routes and podcasts.
Nathan Haas raced professionally for 12 seasons before calling time on his road racing career at the end of 2021. In that time, the Australian made quite a big impression on world cycling including overall victory at the Tour of Britain.
Now, Haas has turned his attention to gravel. But just what are the 33-year-old’s ambitions now he’s diverted off-road? It’s time to find out.
What is your gravel schedule for 2022, please?
I’m competing in the World Cup in Australia on 16th May before tackling Unbound, the Belgium Waffle Ride and Gravel Adventure Poland (UCI World Cup) in June.
It’s then Sa Costa Brava and Iceland Rift in July followed by Steamboat USA, Gravel Grit and Grind Sweden, and Houffa Gracek Belgium (UCI World Cup) in August.
There are further World Cups in September – in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the US – before the World Championships in October.
How has your training and riding changed since devoting more time to gravel?
It’s been a big change but a lot of fun. One of the biggest changes has been training for some of the longer events. The longest race I used to train for was Milan-Sanremo; now it’s a whole new kettle of fish.
I’m trying to focus efforts on race scenarios, working out my fuelling, sorting my own flat tires etc.
The unsupported aspect means a lot of mental preparation.
Can you tell us how the Campagnolo equipment you use benefits your gravel riding?
Well, we all know by now how in love I am with the Ekar groupset. Honestly, it’s just the best. I love the simplicity and effectiveness of it.
1x makes so much sense off road. It just works better, and now with the range of the 13-speed and the smallest cog being a nine, my range of gears is crazy. This is all without talking about the brakes.
Nothing stops like a Campagnolo disc-brake system.
Where is your favourite gravel route?
My favourite gravel route? I don’t think I’ve found it yet. It’s hard to answer as every country has such different terrain and nature.
I love riding in the Adelaide hills in Australia and then in the hills near Siena; I love huge Alpine passes and I love open desert expanses.
I think one day I'll be able to answer this question but, for now, it’s all just about discovering as much as I can.
You recently launched series two of the Gravelog podcast. Can you tell prospective listeners about the podcast, please.
It’s really my place to share my learning experience as I delve into this whole new discipline and focus in and learn everything I can.
My chat with Amy Charity from Steamboat Gravel race was amazing. It’s the first episode of season two and I think my favourite podcast so far.
Do you still ride much on the road?
I still do about 50% of my training on the road. Where I live, most of my training friends are still road professionals, so it’s hard to convince them to come ride gravel.
I’m still so lucky to use Campagnolo on the road; I raced my last two years professional on Campagnolo and it would have been hard to move to anything else.
You fall in love with Campagnolo, it’s that simple. I use the full Super Record EPS groupset with the Campagnolo Shamal wheels on my Colnago V3RS. It’s a dream bike.
What is your greatest memory of your road career?
There are so many great memories, on and off the bike, though I think the top one was the win at the Japan Cup in 2014.
It was the end of the season, Japan is one of my favourite places in the world and I was there with some amazing friends. Yes, these friends were my team-mates, but does it get any better than Steele Von Hoff, Dan Martin and Phil Gaimon?
I’ll never forget the days after as well, a Karaoke bar in Tokyo with Phil, the incredible fans in Japan. I mean, it’s almost a decade ago but still feels like yesterday. I’m crossing my fingers for a Japan-based Gravel World Cup next year!
Finally, how do you feel the new UCI World Gravel Series will affect the sport?
A much debated topic! There are always pros and cons to things as sports grow, but I truly feel like one of the big advantages of the UCI series is that it’s opening up much of the rest of the world outside of the United States to high-level gravel racing.
When I decided to make this jump across, it was a big question to whether I would spend a lot more time in the States, but my family is based in Europe and, with our baby, we had to be realistic.
Now, with the UCI Series all around the world, I think we’ll get to see more serious competitors from all over the place come in.
Discover the Campagnolo Ekar gravel groupset and the new Campagnolo Levante gravel wheels.