Video: UCI Gravel World Championships


Gravel World Championships
Gianni Vermeersch upset odds to win the Men Elite race at the first UCI Gravel World Championships 

The Belgian won the UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto, Italy, in a time of 5:10:38. The silver medal went to Daniel Oss (ITA) with the final spot on the podium taken by Mathieu Van der Poel of the Netherlands.

“It’s crazy,” said Vermeersch on winning the rainbow jersey. “I knew the final singletrack was one of my favourite parts of the race and just went full into it. I knew the group behind were getting closer so went full on.”

Cycling Stars Start Gravel Worlds

After France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot win in the Women Elite race on Saturday – her fourth rainbow jersey of 2022 – it was over to the Men Elite on Sunday. The second and final day of the UCI Gravel World Championships again saw a mix of gravel riders, mountain bikers and road cyclists take to the start line. The men faced 194km from Vicenza to Cittadella, comprising 140km plus two laps of a 27km circuit. Around 73% of the parcours was gravel, with 800m of altitude gain.

Stars at the start included Mathieu Van der Poel (four-time cyclo-cross Elite UCI World Champion), three-time road race UCI World Champion Peter Sagan (SVK), who won the Junior mountain bike cross -country Olympic (XCO) rainbow jersey in 2008, and other major names such as former UCI Mountain Bike Marathon UCI World Champion Alban Lakata (AUT) and road specialists Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Magnus Cort Nielsen (DEN), Zdeněk Štybar (CZE), Davide Ballerini (ITA), Daniel Oss (ITA) and Alessandro De Marchi (ITA).

Those with more proven expertise on gravel included Carlos Verona (ESP), who recently stormed to victory at the UCI Gravel World Series event in Ponts (Spain), and Australian Nathan Haas, who retired from the UCI WorldTour at the end of 2021 and has spent 2022 focused on gravel racing, taking a memorable victory at The Rift gravel race in Iceland.

Men’s Race

It was two riders from the road who made their mark… With 60km to go, Oss (35) and Vermeersch (29) held a 5min gap over the peloton. Both of them looked in imperious form. But would it hold till the end? How would the two professional road cyclists cope with no race radio? And with no support team behind them, how would they cope if they had a mechanical?

Both riders, who have supporting roles within their respective road teams – Team TotalEnergies and Alpecin-Deceuninck – looked strong and ready to prove their prowess off-road.

Oss had raced the Garmin Unbound Gravel presented by Craft Sportswear in the USA earlier in the season and spends many training miles on his mountain bike. Vermeersch has a strong cyclo-cross background.

Hoka One

With 50km to go, Haas was pulling things along at the front of the chasing peloton. Among the chasers in the peloton were Van der Poel, Sagan and Magnus Cort. By the time Oss and Vermeersch hit the last 27km lap, they still held a 4min-plus lead over the peloton. With 20km to go, that lead was down to 3mins. And by 10km, that was 2:20mins.

With 5.5km to go, Vermeersch cranked up the power and carved out a lead over Oss. Vermeersch continued to pull away as he headed onto the final stretch of tarmac and victory looked assured as his advantage stretched to 30secs over the Italian. 

Down the final straight, he raised his arms in celebration to win in 5:10:38. Oss crossed the line for second 43secs back. Around 46secs further back, Van der Poel outsprinted Van Avermaet for third.

Results:

Pro Men

Pro Women

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