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Matej Mohoric wins the Gravel World Championship with a huge Valverde in fourth place


The 2023 Gravel World Championship, the second edition of this event, went to the hands of the Slovenian Matej Mohoric in a true elimination race. For his part, Alejando Valverde performed an excellent role, moving all day in the leading positions and managing to finish in a creditable 4th position. Worse luck for top favourite, Wout van Aert, who was knocked out of contention by a crash.

Spectacular race offered us by the second edition of the Gravel World Cup, this time yes, with hard climbs, technical sections and the cyclists having to use bikes and gravel covers for a demanding route that crossed the plains of the north of the Veneto and the pre-Dolomite hills in a landscape dominated by the vineyards where the Gleu grape variety used to make the famous Prosecco is grown.

The race started very quickly on a long flat section that led the cyclists from the start in Le Bandie to the first step through the finish line located in Pieve di Soglio where they arrived with all the favorites grouped together. From here, the Review entered mountainous terrain and the hard initial pace, added to the first difficulties of the day, produced the first selection.

At the second timing point, a group of 6 cyclists in which Alejandro Valverde was in the company of Connor Swift, Florian Vermeersch, Matej Mohoric, Paul Voss and Cameron Mason were at the head, although with just 15 seconds compared to a still large group chaser in which the great favorite for today was not: Wout van Aert.

The Belgian, who had already suffered mechanical problems in the early part, suffered a crash which led to him losing more than 9 minutes, leaving him out of any chance of victory. Even so, Van Aert continued to compete, fighting, so that he managed to make a remarkable comeback that took him from beyond 100th place to 8th. All points of honor in a season that has not turned out exactly as he would have imagined.

Returning to the front, the group would be selected in this mountainous loop until leaving only Swift, Vermeersch and Mohoric at the front, who opened a remarkable gap over their pursuers of more than a minute, a distance that would gradually grow making it clear that they would play for victory against each other on the tough climbs that marked the last 30 km of the day.

In the first, San Vigilio, a short but very hard concrete ramp, Mohoric made it clear that he was the strongest and launched an attack that dislodged the British cyclist while Florian Vermeersch resisted with dignity on his wheel. However, the Slovenian would continue to tighten the rope, both on the climbs and the descents until on the ascent to Le Serre, the most important climb of this final section, the Belgian ended up giving way leaving the way to the victory for Mohoric.

Even so, this one did not rely on the advantage gained in the face of the lack of references and continued to press both uphill and, above all, on the descents, asserting his excellent technique, which, at 3 from the finish line, did not putting his heart into a fist as he went to the ground when he lost his grip on the front wheel, thankfully with no consequences beyond wounded pride. Finally, Matej Mohoric reached the finish line in Pieve di Soglio with a lead of 42 seconds over Florian Vermeersch and almost 4 minutes over a Connor Swift who closed the podium.

And, a few minutes later, Alejando Valverde and Keegan Swenson appeared at the finish line, having managed to get rid of their companions to compete for the chocolate medal in the sprint. Of course, he retained what he had and Valverde once again showed us that speed tip that gave him so many victories throughout his professional career.

Kasia is back on the road to victory

On Saturday, the women’s Review took place where the road professionals showed their highest level of competition.

A very selective race in which, finally, after 4 years without stepping on the top of the podium, Kasia Niewiadoma broke her very long drought to achieve a fabulous victory ahead of the duo formed by Silvia Persico and Demi Vollering who had to settle for playing for silver and bronze in a close sprint that fell to the side of the Italian.

Classification World Gravel Championship 2023 – Men’s Elite

  1. Matej Mohoric (Slovenia) 4h53’56
  2. Florian Vermeersch (Belgium) +42”
  3. Connor Swift (Great Britain) 3’39”
  4. Alejandro Valverde (Spain) +6’47”
  5. Keegan Swenson (USA) mt
  6. Quinten Hermans (Belgium) +7’23”
  7. Simone Velasco (Italy) +7’51”
  8. Wout van Aert (Belgium) +8’21”
  9. Alessandro de Marchi (Italy) +9’07”
  10. Sebastian Schönberger (Austria) +9’42”

Classification World Gravel Championship 2023 – Women’s Elite

  1. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) 4h49’44”
  2. Silvia Persico (Italy) +32”
  3. Demi Vollering (Netherlands) mt
  4. Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands) +1’29”
  5. Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands) +1’33”
  6. Lauren Stephens (USA) +4’02”
  7. Simone Boilard (Canada) +5’19”
  8. Niamh Fisher-Black (New Zealand) +5’23”
  9. Gaia Realini (Italy) +6’03”
  10. Tiffany Crownwell (Australia) +6’46”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Are we watching the same race? Valverde in fourth is nothing to write home about. Mohoric did well, but lets not get carried away with the gravel cycling hype. Theres still a long way to go before its on fire.

    • Are we watching the same race? Mohoric was good, but lets not forget the incredible performance by Pidcock. Valverde in fourth is hardly impressive considering his experience. Keep up!

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