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21-03-2022 | Marcel van Herten

Gran fondo winner Minnaert sets new (v)Everesting worldrecord

Get real: 8,848 metres of virtual uphill riding on Zwift! And while you're at it, take a shot at the world record Virtual Everesting. Michiel Minnaert, two-time winner of La Marmotte and Trois Ballons and friend of the show, did it last Saturday in Ghent. In the paincave at sponsor Bataia built especially for the attempt, the Granfondos specialist from the Bataia Brigade (Bataia-Bavet-Storex) rode to a new world record time of 5 hours 50 minutes and 51 seconds.

57 times Radio Tower

In the weeks leading up to the attempt, CycloWorld followed Michiel in his preparations. Because a successful attempt at the world record is not something you do without the right preparation. In addition to an clear head and a perfect physical condition, the selection of the right climb is required. Michiel chose the Radio Tower (1.1 km, 13.7% average). Michiel: "Radio Tower is the segment within Zwift wist the most relative elevation. Up 57 times, but you're done in 140 km."

Following that, it was mainly a matter of testing and trying out during training, looking for the right heart rate and power output for pacing. The trick is to keep the decay in climbing time as minimal as possible. The pacing strategy was to ride up the 1.1 km climb, at a heart rate of 180 (anaerobic threshold), in about 4:50 min. This allowed sufficient margin in time to be built up at the end to compensate for fatigue and any lapse in time. The care is also a part that needs to be thought about well in advance.

Michiel: "The recovery time at the Radio Tower is so short that eating and drinking is often difficult. The first 4 hours this doesn't bother you that much, but then suddenly the knock comes. Then you know it will be very difficult. So it's important to get ahead of that moment."

The preparation of Michiel was certainly not flawless. A double rib fracture, a COVID infection at the end of January and then a stomach flu during the Strade Bianche weekend in early March seriously affected Michiel's condition.

"Because of the aftermath of the stomach flu, I didn't really see it coming until a week ago. Fortunately, my body felt a lot fitter the last few days. And mentally I was ready for it."

I love it when a plan comes together

The A-team's Hannibal always said it and Michiel put it into practice on Saturday. Successfully implementing a well thought out plan. The strategy worked perfectly. The first 40 climbs went according to plan: within the pacing time and in the planned heart rate zone. After 4 hours the fatigue slowly set in.

Michiel: "The hardest moment was obviously the last climb. The last 800m of climbing were the hardest. You realize that you're probably going to meet your target time, but even though your body can't really do much anymore you still have to keep pushing to make it in. After a good 6,000 hm, I was convinced I was going to make it. Although the last part really weighed on me and the gradient became very big."

Thus, those last 17 climbs went at a slower pace. But still at a more than punishing pace of around 5:30 min (check here the Strava file). Despite the fact that the tension increases during the last hour, Michiel keeps on pedalling and after more than 5 hours and 50 minutes, under the approving eyes of partner Deborah and daughter Marie, the champagne can be enjoyed: We have a new Virtual Everesting world record holder: Michiel Minnaert! Congratulations!


  • 57 x Radio Tower / 8.848m+ / 62,13 km of climbing
  • Total 135,68 km en 8.962m+
  • Climbing time: 4:41 min – 5:54min
  • 41x faster than 5 minuten
  • Normalized Power: 254W = 4,9 W/kg (at a weight of 51,5 kg)
  • Average gearing: 36 x 28 – 32 with a cadence of 70 rpm
  • Details and analysis on Strava
  • Specs of the Radio Tower via Veloviewer

Next challenge?

If it were up to Michiel, it wouldn't stop at just the virtual Everesting world record. He has bold plans to attempt to attack the Belgian record at the end of the spring. Location and exact climb to be determined, but most likely somewhere in the Ardennes. Not the one in his native region, but on the Walloon side. CycloWorld will of course be there and report back.

Taking on Everest yourself?

CycloWorld asked Michiel for some tips if you want to make a (virtual) Everesting attempt.

Michiel: "Try to see beforehand how fast you can go at the halfway point, without decay. Then you can start calculating where you're going to end up. You'll always ride up that mountain, but you'll do it slower at the end and it will feel a lot heavier. But the end will come one day! So try mentally never to think about giving up. Make sure you have everything figured out and set up beforehand. I had access to a Kickr provided by Wahoo and also the power meter of 4iii on my bike, so that the files to be sent to was well recorded."

If you want to know everything about (virtual) Everesting dive into the rules via the website of In addition, Zwift also has everything recently listed if you want to conquer the virtual Everest.

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