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From the boulevards of Paris to the dirt roads of Morocco, it is certainly not an easy transition, but Sofiane Sehili seems to be very comfortable in both situations. French, born in 1983, he discovered the world of bikepacking and UltraCycling in 2011: since then he has never stopped pedaling and during his long journey he was able to conquer many important events such as Italy Divide, Inca Divide and the first memorable edition of Atlas Mountian Race. Sofiane approaches Ultra in a new way that breaks the traditional mold: she gives her all at the start of each race to lead the group and then slows down to a pace that allows her to lead with virtually no breaks. An athlete and an innovator in her own way “just like us at Miss Grape”, said Michele Boschetti (founder of the Italian bikepacking brand). “This is why we are really proud to welcome him into our small but tireless family.”

Now Sofiane is considered one of the strongest ultracyclists in the world, but his first experience with racing was the Great Divide in 2014. At first he thought that only crazy people could pedal non-stop for days, but the idea of ​​taking part he was attracted to this competition more than anything else. Two years after that first recreational participation, he returned to that same track, but with a very different intent, that of competing, and in his first competitive participation he finished in third place. From there his ultracycling career began.

Sofiane has brought a new racing strategy to the world of ultracycling, the "tireless constant", that is, rather than going fast and then stopping to rest, Sofiane keeps a gentle pace, but practically never stops. She is always moving. What helps him is his ability to carry on without (or with very little) sleep. It's a skill that is both a gift and something that is acquired with lots of training and experience.

A strategy that led him last year to triumph in one of the toughest races in the world, the Silk Road Mountain Race, a 1,800 kilometer stage race through the mountains and valleys where the Silk Road once passed. Taking inspiration from the Transcontinental Race, Europe's premier endurance cycling event, the Silk Road Mountain Race shares the same spirit of adventure. Just like the TCR, the Kyrgyz race prescribes complete self-sufficiency: individually or in teams, participants cannot accept any form of external help to reach the finish line. Unlike the Transcontinental Race, the SRMR however takes place on a fixed route - and almost completely off-road. Sofiane finished the 1,858 kilometer route in an incredible 8 days, 14 hours and 35 minutes (8d:14h:35m), braving brutal weather, technical and rocky terrain and the inevitable mechanical problems of the route through the Tian Shan Mountains. He is the third person to win the Silk Road Mountain Race, joining 2018 winner Jay Petervary (8 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes) and 2019 winner Jakub Sliacan (7 days, 6 hours, 46 minutes).

He is not obsessed with speed, he likes to pedal without the obsession of performance and ultra cycling is perfect because it allows you to discover places and meet people. The bike...that's where Sofiane Sehili is really happy.

With both gravel and MTB bicycles, Sofiane has demonstrated that he is at ease on any type of vehicle. She prefers hardtail MTBs and rigid forks, with 2.25 tires because they go perfectly with her fast & light spirit just as they go with the Miss Grape bags, as he explains directly to us:

“I like to use a full frame bag to make the most of the space offered by the front triangle. It's also very convenient for me because I like to use a water bladder for hydration. I always have a Node top tube bag for batteries, cables and chargers. I then use two Buds for food, because when I ride I like to have food close at hand. Depending on the weather conditions, I use a Cluster 7 or Cluster 13 waterproof bag. For short adventures in warm weather, I use the smaller one. When temperatures risk dropping and I need more equipment, I use the 13 liter version."

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