Canadian Adam Roberge won the Gravel Locos 150 in Hico, Texas on Sunday but some are saying that he didn’t…pull enough. Roberge used tactics that would be seen in road races, which, according to some, don’t fit in with the so-called “spirit of gravel.”
After the race, he took to Instagram to defend himself.
“I cannot help but feel that I am being unfairly singled out for using tactics that all cyclists implement to a certain level,” Roberge posted. “Like any sport, gravel requires a blend of physical, technical and tactical skills. Suppose we choose to value physical and technical abilities alone. In that case, we can organize gravel time trials (which I’m not opposed to), but when we participate in mass start racing, winning necessitates a mix of physical, technical and tactical aptitude.
Roberge rode away from the large group in the finale of the race. Half a minute later, Paul Voss won from a group of 10 riders across the line for second place, with Ivar Slik taking third just ahead of Alex Howes.
Tactics and strategy are not OK in gravel racing?
“Competition is about growing together, and the more we challenge ourselves using all our tools, physical, technical, and tactical, the more we better ourselves,” Roberge added. “Utilizing tactics and strategy doesn’t contradict what makes gravel unique. It doesn’t undermine the nurturing of a tight-knit community or deter one from befriending competitors. I expect my competitors to do everything within their power to outperform me on race day.”
“In my opinion, doing everything in one’s power to win is not against ‘the spirit of gravel,’” he concluded.
Fellow Canadian Maghalie Rochette also defended the 26-year-old’s win, posting on her Instagram story. “From what I understand, he didn’t work much in the peloton and won the race, and people are mad?”
She too was confused that people would be aghast at the use of tactics. “Is this bike racing or what? In any other racing discipline, this is called tactics,” she said. “If this is not OK, then it would be nice to clarify what gravel is. Are you supposed to win, or are you supposed to parade?”
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