Daniel Oss will switch from road racing to gravel racing in 2024, riding for a new Specialized gravel team after his years riding alongside Peter Sagan.
The 36-year-old Italian has always described himself as ‘‘alternativo”, sharing his love for rock music and life via social media, and considered his racing career a journey and adventure rather than a disciplined profession.
With Sagan also stepping away from road racing for a swansong in mountain biking, Oss has decided to follow his own path. The duo rode together for four seasons at Bora-Hansgrohe and the past two seasons at Team TotalEnergies.
He has already represented Italy at the European and World Gravel Championships, has excellent bike skills due to his years of riding the cobbled Classics, and rode the 2022 edition of Unbound Gravel 100 with Sagan.
“Road cycling is looking for the next big thing and is focused on young riders, so I decided I’d either ride for a major team or try something else,” Oss explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Gravel is a perfect opportunity for me. I’m incredibly excited, it’s a fresh start for me. Specialized will build its first gravel team around me,” Oss confirmed.
“My plan is to race ast a high level, earn a place in the Italian team for the European and World Championships, have fun too but be competitive.
“Gravel tests you in a different way, especially if road racing seems to be limiting. We’re going to study a high-level race calendar that includes the UCI series and everything else.”
A year ago at the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships, Oss went on a 150km attack with Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) that resulted in the Belgian rider taking the rainbow jersey with a final solo effort in the final 10km and Oss taking the silver medal.
Oss has recently been riding around Zanzibar during his latest Just Ride adventures but will soon begin to plan for 2024.
“It’s going to be fun,” he said, capturing the spirit of gravel.
“Gravel gives people more freedom, you can be yourself without focusing totally on performance. Gravel helps you avoid the traffic and find new routes. It’s about discovery.”