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Records tumbled on the gravel roads of The Traka over the weekend, with Mattia de Marchi (Enough Cycling Collective) breaking away surprisingly early in the 360km gravel event to become the first rider ever to finish in under 13 hours. Then Amity Rockwell (Trek/PAS/Maurten/Schwalbe) also slashed the women’s record, having shaved more than an hour off the previous best time when she crossed the Girona finish line.
Rockwell had entered as one of the key favourites for the event, which this year also served as the opening round of the Gravel Earth Series, but that didn’t mean she was taking anything for granted. “I never expect to win,” the rider front the United States said after crossing the line. “In 360km so much can happen and you are not in control of most of it.”
In the end, however, no one could come close to the 2019 Unbound winner, who won with a time of 15 hours, one minute and two seconds. Compatriot Sarah Sturm (Specialized/SRAM/Rapha) came over the line 45 minutes later, and Irish rider Emma Porter (La Bicicletta) arrived after another half-an-hour to join the two riders from the United States on the podium.
The gaps were smaller for Italian rider De Marchi in the men’s category as he carved out his third victory at the event and squarely put recent disappointments behind him, which included an ill-timed puncture while well-positioned in the final stages of the first UCI Gravel World Series race of the season La Indomable.
“After months of if you want to call it bad luck I needed something,” said De Marchi in an Instagram post (opens in new tab). “The day before I had said it : I felt like being alone or at least trying.
“After 150 km I decided to try to go. But thinking back those 210 km that were missing flew by fast. And I think I will remember them for quite a while.”
Nils Correvon (PNS/BMC/DT Swiss), Tobias Mørch (PAS Normal Studios) and Diederik Deelen (Oleka/The Service Course) collaborated in the chase behind but De Marchi remained out of reach, finishing with a time of 12 hours, 55 minutes and 42 seconds. After 13 minutes Mørch and Deelen came through in second and third while Correvon, who had tailed off the chase group earlier, took fourth.
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