Svenja Betz (IBCT) broke through to the top step of the Trek UCI Gravel World Series in Halmstad, Sweden this time getting the better of a retired mountain biking foe to take the win that had eluded her in the last European round held in Poland.
In June at Świeradów-Zdrój, it was Maja Wloszczowska (Rondo.cc) who took the top step, while Betz settled for second in her first gravel event. This time at Gravel Grit ‘n Grind, however, it was the 26-year-old professional road cyclist who came out on top, beating another recently retired mountain biker, Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing).
The 124km course for Gravel Grit ‘n Grind worked its way along the Nissan river in Halmstad’s Norre Katts Park and into the countryside. As the race headed toward deep forests and open fields at about 24km in Langvad, Betz, Mika Söderström (Stockholm CK) and Hanna Johansson (Baroudeur Fietsclub) attacked from the bigger women’s group.
It was a group that held together through much of the race but when Betz went on final climb with 4 km to go, only Langvad could follow, though Betz made it over the line first to secure the win. The retired mountain biker was the second women overall but won her age category, 35-39. Just a little over 30 seconds back Söderström and Johansson crossed the Halmstad finish line.
The Halmstad Gravel Grit ‘n Grind round is the sixth of 11 races in the series, with each providing an opportunity to qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships to be held in the Veneto region of Italy on October 8-9.
Houffa Gravel in Belgium is the next race in the series, on Saturday August 27, then there are two double header weekends with events in Italy and Australia on September 3 and 4, plus Dutch and Spanish races on September 17 and 18.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Svenja Betz (IBCT)||3:52:08|
|2||Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing)||0:00:01|
|3||Mika Söderström (Stockholm CK)||0:00:35|
|4||Hanna Johnansson (Baroudeur Fietsclub)|
|5||Nellie Larsson (Team Motorhalland)||0:07:15|
|6||Finja Smekal (MAXX Solar Lindig Women Racing)||0:07:59|
|7||Caroline Juel Geldorf (Cranks & Coffee Cycling)||0:08:40|
|8||Maj Mork-Johansen (Vestby SK)||0:08:56|
|9||Puck Pinxt (OffRoad Cycling Ter Aar)||0:10:59|
|10||Matilda Frantzich (CK Ringen)||0:21:38|