Gianni Vermeersch first Gravel World Champion
The Belgian finished a long breakaway in the company of Daniel Oss to take the first rainbow of the speciality on Italian soil. The main favourites could not react in time and Mathieu Van der Poel had to settle for the third step of the podium.
Vermeersch, Oss and Van der Poel complete the first ever Gravel World Championship podium
A very fast debut of the Gravel World Championship through the Italian region of Veneto, although, as expected, the lack of hardness of the course made the outcome of the race a real lottery.
The only two climbs of the day were in the first kilometres, with the aim of breaking the race from the start. That's why, as the starting gun was fired, the first to launch his bid was the Colombian Miguel Ángel López, seconded by Magnus Cort Nielsen. They would be joined by another couple of riders who would try to make their way, although they would end up giving in to the main group with all the favourites.
Behind them it was Daniel Oss who was looking to take his chances. A move that managed to open up a gap. He was joined by the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider, today in the colours of the Belgian national team, Gianni Vermeersch. Together they would start to make their way in front of the passivity of the rest of the favourites, achieving a gap of more than 5 and a half minutes.
Finally, behind them, they pushed on, and by the first pass of the finish line the advantage had been reduced to just over 4 and a half minutes, which in the process selected a main group in which, in addition to names such as Alban Lakata, Magnus Cort Nielsen, Greg Van Avermaet, Mathieu Van der Poel and Peter Sagan, there were also the Spaniards Carlos Verona, Dani Moreno and Alberto Losada, the latter two being ex-professionals on the road.
Despite the acceleration, the difference was slowly decreasing and there were fewer and fewer kilometres to go. Therefore, in the second pass, the last one before the final one, it was Mathieu Van der Poel himself who made his move to try to make the final selection and close the gap.
He was joined by Greg Van Avermaet, Andreas Nielsen, Ballerini, Magnus Cort-Nielsen and Alessandro De Marchi and a chase began that reduced the gap to under 2 minutes. Therefore, with 6 kilometres to go, still knowing he was the fastest in a possible sprint, Gianni Vermeersch decided not to speculate on the result with an attack that managed to drop the Italian Daniel Oss.
This would allow Gianni Vermeersch to enjoy his last kilometres and taste victory at the finish in Cittadella. 43 seconds later Daniel Oss crossed the finish line, after having to suffer in the final part of the race to avoid being caught by the chasers, who were followed by Mathieu Van der Poel, who won the bronze after beating another illustrious classics rider, Greg Van Avermaet, in the sprint.
Among the Spanish riders, the best classified was Carlos Verona, who crossed the finish line in 26th place, more than 8 minutes behind the winner.
Gravel World Championship Classification
- Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) 5h10’40’’
- Daniel Oss (Italy) +43’’
- Mathieu Van der Poel (Netherlands) +01’29’’
- Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) +01’29’’
- Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kazakhstan) +01’39’’
- Magnus Cort-Nielsen (Denmark) +01’39’’
- Alessandro De Marchi (Italy) +01’41’’
- Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) +01’46’’
- Davide Ballerini (Italy) +01’53’’
- Andreas Stokbro Nielsen (Denmark) +02’43’’