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SCC @ the UCI Gravel World Series

UCI Gravel World Series

I wanted to let you know about some amazing efforts by our Stratford Cycling club members at the British leg of the UCI Gravel World Series.

Gravel Bike racing is a new phenomenon, but, with elements of Cyclocross, Road and Mountain bike XC racing, it has a familiar feel. Drop handlebar bikes, racing down forest trails avoiding rocks and holes, skipping over loose gravel, sand and mud, with smiles all round.

Stratford Cycling club has been encouraging interest in this discipline; with social rides and excursions out to the Forest of Dean. This has culminated in three intrepid club riders making the journey up to Gatehouse of Fleet and to the UCI Gravel World Series, to test their mettle against international elite athletes and pro-tour riders with 1500 others. Around the exhausting 115km of the spectacular Galloway Forest Park, they were joined by clubmates racing for the Rotor Race team and even a Stratford Athletic club member.

The trails were an unrelenting challenge of sharp granite chippings and fist sized rocks, lurking to catch a passing wheel to burst tyres or worse. Under clear skies and glorious sun, our riders’ spirits were kept up, putting in amazing efforts over tough climbs and wickedly fast descents, with the exhilarating buzz of the racing packs and magnificent views.

The race was won by the retired Pro-Tour British rider, Matthew Holmes in 3:12:47 and the Dutch gravel specialist and ex pro, Geerike Scheuers in 3:42:29.

All the Stratford riders made it home safe, dusty and tired with some incredible times.
Ben Phyall 4:43:41
Tom Heenan 4:48:24
Carl Conn 5:56:12
Vicky Sharpe (Stratford Upon Avon Athletic club) 5:58:37

The Rotor Race team riders, who train with the Stratford Cycling Club, put in strong efforts all round and many have qualified to go to the UCI World Gravel Championships later in the year. A special mention to Alison Bagnall, our Juniors section coach and British Cyclocross AG National Champion, who was fifth in her age group and so qualifying for Belgium too.

Unfortunately there aren’t any team specific photos as they were all too tired to lift a camera.

Ben Phyall

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