During 2018 I featured a number of cycle races that had a touch of the ‘Roubaixesque’ about them, road events that featured sections of dirt tracks, pave, green roads, gravel and farm tracks in addition to tarmac.
The semi concrete steep climb to the finish of stage 17 of the Vuelta Espana on September 12, I thought had concluded my season of ‘Roubaixesque’ road races, but I was wrong as Paris Tours was held on 7 October and hit the gravel for nine sectors.
Looking back on the list of events I have featured, stage 9 of the Tour de France held on July 15 stands out as it featured sections of Roubaix cobbles. This stage was full of drama, dust and emotion, and was in stark contrast to the earlier opening stages which to be honest were great for a wonderful sweep of the area and some fantastic sprints, but otherwise they were a mass trundle along wide smooth roads.
The dust was not confined to the Roubaix cobbles because across Europe most races were generally held in dry conditions although two weren’t – the white mud caked faces of both women and men in the Strade Bianchi highlighted that conditions especially for the women were wet. Similarly the La Classique Morbihan women’s race held in France on May 25 was hit by a deluge and the gravel and dirt roads there became a huge challenge.
At the start of the season I posted a basic list of races but as the season progressed I became aware of other events including a number in Norway.
I also loved the poetic gravel pictures posted by Velofocus from the Vargarda race held as part of the UCI Women’s Tour.
Races such as Slag Nord, Dwars Door Het Hageland, Gent Wevelgem, Le Samyn, The Antwerp Epic, The Tour of Colorado and The Giro d’Italia make the statement that some organisers have a sense that racing away from the tarmacked roads has its attractions.
Main picture is a screen shot from Paris Tours held on October 7.
Next Race – That’s it for the year, but I’ve said that before – Previews (full list of races)
Paris Tours – October 7
The usual sprinters festival that is Paris Tours was given a big pep for 2018 with the addition of seven sharp climbs and over 12 kilometres of gravel roads.
Within the last 60 kilometres the race began nine sectors of gravel roads through Vouvray appellation vineyards.
1 Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) 4:37:55
2 Niki Terpstra (Quick – Step Floors) 0:00:25
3 Benoit Cosnefroy (Ag2r La Mondiale) 0:00:25
Vuelta Espana Stage 17 – September 12
A narrow concrete road rising to over 18% in gradient closed stage 17 of the 2018 Vuelta from Getxo to Balcon de Bizkai. Despite much of it being tarmacked the concrete sections added to the tension of the climb.
1 Michael Woods (Can) Team EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale 4:09:48
2 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:05
3 David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Esp) Team Sky 0:00:10
Vuelta Espana Stage 14 – September 9
The last few hundred metres of stage 14 from Cistierna to Alto Les Praeres saw the riders hit well manicured gravel.
Video: https://www.facebook.com/veloncc/.. (on board)
Video: https://www.facebook.com/EurosportUK/.. (awful commentary)
Video: https://www.facebook.com/globalcyclingnetwork.. (noisy)
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton – Scott 4:19:27
2 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team 0:00:02
Antwerp Port Epic – September 2
In 2018 Schaal Sels was reorganised and is now held over a shorter circuit without the dust, dirt and cobbles.
The general ethos of the Schaal Sels can now be seen in the ‘Antwerp Port Epic’ and the race continues to honour the memory of Belgian cycling journalist Jacques-Charles Sels who died during the 1920 Milan-Antwerp road race.
1 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 4:55:23
2 Aksel Nõmmela (Est) BEAT Cycling Club 0:01:37
3 Taco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij 0:01:37
Plus (a number of cyclo crossers)
8 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda’s Willems – Crelan 0:02:17
16 Tim Merlier (Bel) Veranda’s Willems – Crelan 0:04:21
17 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice Continental Team 0:04:21
DNF Joshua Teasdale (GBr) Team Differdange – Losch
DNF Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet – Fidea Lions
DNF Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet – Fidea Lions
DNF Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux – Bingoal
DNF Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux – Bingoal
DNF Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice Continental Team
DNF Yannick Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice Continental Team
DNF Diether Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice Continental Team
Gylne Gutuer GP – September 2
Norway is made up of gravel roads and this race was held as part of the Uno-X Development Weekend. It featured 28 sections of the loose stuff, some 54.8 km of the 165 race distance was gravel.
The Hafjell GP (TT) was on the Friday, the Lillehammer GP (tarmac) on Saturday with Gylne Gutuer following on Sunday.
I did manage to find video of the 2018 race but it is geo-restricted and so here is the action from the 2017 junior men’s race (sadly most of the footage is tarmac and gravel is after 4 minutes) plus a look at some of the gravel .
1 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Hagens Berman – Axeon 3:51:17
2 Casper Von Folsach (Den) Team ColoQuick 0:00:00
3 Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Joker – Icopal 0:00:00
Schaal Sels – August 26
In 2018 Schaal Sels was reorganised and is now held over a shorter circuit without the dust, dirt and cobbles. It was won by Timothy Dupont – https://atv.be/nieuws/…
The general ethos of the Schaal Sels can now be seen in the ‘Antwerp Port Epic’ to be held on September 2.
The Great War Remembrance Race – August 24
The first edition of the Great War Remembrance Race was held on August 24 and the race route followed the bitter World War One fighting line in Flanders.
A smaller relation to the Gent Wevelgem road race, the event covered three ‘dirt’ sections – ploegsteerts or ‘plug streets’, the latter pointing out the inability of British soldiers to grasp hold of Flemish nuances in WW1. More notable moments is the fearsome Kemmelberg and the Palinbeek pave.
The Crater (Plug Street) : https://www.facebook.com/…
Palingbeek (cobbles): https://www.facebook.com/…
Kemmelberg (climb): https://www.facebook.com/…
The finish: https://www.facebook.com/...
The finish: https://www.youtube.com/…
Podium in Ypres: https://www.facebook.com/…
1 Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy 4:18:25
2 Pawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Sprandi – Polkowice 0:00:04
3 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:00:04
Ronde van de Achterhoek – August 19
A short stretch of gravel and cobbles are included in this race. Although the race itself is not UCI registered it does represent the bread and butter of the very competitive cycle race scene to be found in the area.
The race founded in 1969 came back to life in 2017 after stopping post the 1988 edition.
1 Cees Bol 73 4:32:48.000
2 Rick van Breda 7 4:32:50.000
3 Jason van Dalen 102 4:33:02.000
Colorado Classic Stage 1 – August 16
The Colorado Classic stage race kicked off with a circuit in and out of the town of Vail and this included a gravel climb.
1 91 Rebecca Wiasak Fearless Femme
2 35 Lex Albrecht Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
3 34 Kendall Ryan Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
1 Gage Hecht (USA) Aevolo 2:32:56
2 Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:06
3 Joseph Lewis (Aus) Holowesko – Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources 0:00:06
Postnord Vargarda West Sweden UCI World Tour – August 13
The latest round of the Women’s UCI World Tour was set in the parched landscape of western Sweden and the race featured four sections of gravel.
1 Marianne Vos
2 Kirsten wild
3 Lotta Lepistö
Slag om Norg– August 11
A Dutch race held near to Assen which is now six years old and features some 30 kilometres of gravel, dirt and unpaved roads in the overall race distance of 190.5 Kms. The sections of unpaved roads number over 40!
1 Van Schip, Jan – Willem Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij 4:32:19
2 Carpenter, Robin- Rally Cycling
3 Van Breda, Rick – Monkey Town Continental Team
28 Nowell, Matt – Canyon Eisberg
77 Paton, Alex – Canyon Eisberg
79 Gardias, Dexter – Canyon Eisberg
Dnf Rose-Davies, Louis – Canyon Eisberg
Dnf Townsend, Rory – Canyon Eisberg
Dnf Page, Charles – Canyon Eisberg
Dnf Christensen, Ryan – Canyon Eisberg
Tour de Pologne Stage 7 – August 10
The seventh and final stage from Bukovina Resort to Bukowina Tatrzańska was mountainous and it also contained gravel.
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton – Scott 3:37:17
2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama – FDJ 0:00:12
3 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora – Hansgrohe 0:00:12
Tour de France – July 17 (stage 10)
There was a section of gravel in the final kilometre of the ascent of the Plateau des Glières and this came mid-stage on this first mountain day of the Tour. (shame the stage didn’t finish there)
Just before the gravel section the King of the Mountains was decided when Julian Alaphilippe went over the top alone and he then continued to ride the gravel before the lead group of riders came together. Chris Froome punctured
on the gravel but got back to the peloton quickly.
Over the top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH1zT8fPOMA
.. then gravel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybI8lgmuxY4
Winning the stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH1zT8fPOMA
Quick report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFUPCpdc14g
Italian report with some gravel: https://www.facebook.com/global….
KOM at Plateau des Glières
1. Julian Alaphilippe
2. David Gaudu
3. Rudy Molard
See also Le Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc (scroll down).
Tour de France – July 15 (stage 9)
Stage nine of the Tour de France from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix featured 20 kilometres of the ‘Queen of the North’ pave raced over 15 sectors.
On board: https://www.facebook.com/veloncc/….
The sprint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95iHduSgj98
Quick report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYzsxWZqo7E
Froome crashes: https://www.youtube.com/…
Winner interview: https://www.facebook.com/EurosportUK/…
1 John Degenkolb Trek – Segafredo 03h 24′ 26”
2 Greg Van Avermaet Bmc Racing Team 03h 24′ 26”
3 Yves Lampaert Quick – Step Floors 03h 24′ 26”
Le Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc Stage 5 – June 24
The 5th and final stage of this French race between Bonneville and Cluses (Haute-Savoie) with a gravel climb of the Plateau des Glières.
The 10th stage of the 2018 Tour de France will also feature the Plateau des Glières (see here).
1 Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept Cycling Club 3:50:16
2 Arnaud Courteille (Fra) Vital Concept Cycling Club 0:00:42
3 Riccardo Zoidl (AUT) Team Felbermayr – Simplon Wels 0:00:44
Adriatica Ionica Stage 4 – June 23
The fourth stage of the Adriatica Ionica from da San Vito to Cadore a Grado in Italy featured gravel.
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick Step Floors 5:14:56
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek – Segafredo 0:00:00
3 Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Quick Step Floors 0:00:00
13 Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:00
29 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Dimension Data 0:00:06
98 James Knox (GBr) Quick Step Floors 0:06:56
Dwars Door Het Hageland – June 15
A very dusty day on the cobbles and gravel.
1 Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy 4:34:47
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick Step Floors 0:00:33
3 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Corendon – Circus 0:00:33
15 Tim Merlier (Bel) Veranda’s Willems – Crelan 0:02:05
DNF Robert Wagner (GER) Team LottoNL – Jumbo
DNF Ben Turner (GBr) Corendon – Circus
DNF Mark McNally (GBr) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
DNF Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon – Circus
DNF Marcel Meisen (GER) Corendon – Circus
DNF David Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon – Circus
DNF Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon – Circus
DNF Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux – Bingoal
DNF Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux – Bingoal
DNF Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
DNF Andrew Fenn (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
3rd Women’s CiCLE Classic – June 3
The 3rd Women’s edition of the popular International CiCLE Classic and a round of the HSBC British Championship Series. Held over the same dirt tracks as the men in April.
1 Neah Evans Storey Racing 2:53:10
2 Sophie Wright Torelli-Brother +3
3 Nicola Juniper NJC – Biemme – Echelon +28
Vuelta Navarra – Nafarroako Itzulia – May 26
Saturdays stage of the Vuelta Navarra – Nafarroako Itzulia featured some gravel and like the women in France (below) they were also hit by heavy rain.
1 ROMANO, Francesco COLP 3:37:27
2 COVI, Alessandro COLP m.t.
3 LINARES MISIONER, Oscar GOMU m.t.
La Classique Morbihan 2018 – May 25
I must admit that I missed this French race in my preview of road race gravel and pave events and this was really stupid as it was a real corker of a contest – dirt roads and a change of weather that saw Biblical like rain fall.
It was also streamed live (I’m kicking myself)
Across the women’s peloton there are some great videos and pictures of the muddy faces and battered bikes.
Pluméliau – Plumelec (116,0 km)
1 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla)
2 Rasa Leleivyte (Aromitalia Vaiano)
3 Alicia Gonzalez (Movistar)
Giro d’Italia – May 25 – Stage 19
The climb of the Colle delle Finestre came 90 kilometres before the stage finish but the last eight kilometres of this infamous climb was on gravel.
It is also the Cima Coppi highlighting that it is the highest point of the Giro.
Cima Coppi – Colle delle Finestre.
1. C. FROOME (181)
2. T. DUMOULIN (1)- 49s
3. R. CARAPAZ (122)
GP Himmerland Rundt 2018 – April 28
Ten sections of dirt roads traversed in Jutland, on a wet Danish day.
Sadly not much video although there is a quick glimpse of the gravel action in the TV report.
And so as to compensate for the lack of action here is a link to a nice and calm film about Himmerland – Video: https://vimeo.com/26852688
Aars – Aars (199,8 km)
1 Andre Looij (Ned) Monkey Town Continental Team 4:48:26
2 Emil Vinjebo (Den) Team ColoQuick 0:00:00
3 Nicklas Pedersen (Den) BHS – Almeborg Bornholm 0:00:00
Tour of Battenkill – April 28
Not a UCI race, it used to be but not now.
Now a sportive type event and so it no longer fits my remit of road races that go on the wild side.
Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic – April 22
Britain’s best race and set in the Melton Mowbray area featuring a number of tough dirt sections to test the riders.
Oakham – Melton Mowbray (188,3 km / 170,8 km + 17,5 km)
1 Gabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Team Wiggins 4:56:26
2 Karol Domagalski (Pol) ONE Pro Cycling 0:00:01
3 Koos Jeroen Kers (Ned) 0:00:04
GP Herning – April 21
The route includes fifteen sets of gravel tracks held in Jutland.
‘GP Herning – En forårsdag på heden – GP Herning – A spring day on the moors’.
1 Troels Rønning Vinther Riwal CeramicSpeed 04:39:54
2 Jonas Aaen Jørgensen Riwal CeramicSpeed 0:00:14
3 Casper Von Folsach Team ColoQuick 0:00:14
Tro-Bro Léon 2018 – April 15
Held in Brittany where going off road becomes second nature.
Full race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B56fnJkJ8LQ&t=6s
French full race – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U-HivGqU0g
French full race – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMUV6axKlCo
French last Km’s – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSnybRJob6Y
Lannilis – Lannilis (203,2 km / 193,9 km + 3x 4,65 km)
1 LAPORTE Christophe (Cofidis, Solutions Credits) 5:12:07
2 GAUDIN Damien (Direct Energie) 0:00:04
3 MANNAERTS Jelle (Tarteletto – Isorex) 0:00:16
Paris Roubaix – April 8
The biggest of the selection of races I am following and it’s the ‘Hell of the North’!! Paris Roubaix – Media Wars
20Km to go – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aud64x7WCpg
Race part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvATQcyE6fQ
Race part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8IsLJce0cs
Arenberg – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R8AdP34XCU
Compiègne – Roubaix Vélodrome
1 Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 5:54:06
2 Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:00
3 Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) +0:57
13 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda’s Willems – Crelan 0:02:31
Gent Wevelgem – March 25
In addition to twice up the Kemmelberg climb the race features three ‘dirt’ sections (ploegsteerts or ‘plug streets, the latter pointing out the inability of British soldiers to grasp hold of Flemish nuances in WW1).
On these dirt roads are many clusters of spent humanity along a line across Belgium and through France – We rode the Kemmelberg in 2013
All champions – https://www.facebook.com/gentwevelgem/videos/1924729617559045/
The finish – https://www.facebook.com/gentwevelgem/videos/1924654507566556/
Kemmelberg 2nd time – https://www.facebook.com/gentwevelgem/videos/1924572387574768/
Christmas Truce Plug St – https://www.facebook.com/gentwevelgem/videos/1924551087576898/
1 Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé Cipollini 3:41:00 – (142,6 km)
2 Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Mitchelton – Scott 0:00:00
3 Lisa Klein (GER) CANYON // SRAM RACING 0:00:00
6 Hannah Barnes (GBr) CANYON // SRAM RACING 0:00:00
61 Lisa Brennauer (GER) Wiggle – High5 0:01:52
62 Romy Kasper (GER) Alé Cipollini 0:01:52
74 Abby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Trek – Drops 0:03:39
DNF Mieke Kröger (GER) Team Virtu Cycling
DNF Alice Barnes (GBr) CANYON // SRAM RACING
DNF Trixi Worrack (GER) CANYON // SRAM RACING
DNF Elizabeth Holden (GBr) Trek – Drops
DNF Abigail Van Twisk (GBr) Trek – Drops
DNF Emma Grant (GBr) Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank
DNF Clara Koppenburg (GER) Cervélo – Bigla Pro Cycling Team
DNF Lucy Garner (GBr) Wiggle – High5
DNF Lucy Shaw (GBr) Trek – Drops
DNF Henrietta Colborne (GBr) Bizkaia Durango – Euskadi Murias
Strade Bianche – March 3
The ‘white roads’ of Tuscanny from Siena to Siena.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqX1T4Mh3ec (Highlights/English)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVesYAiVBjA (English)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qpdeKGFwCA (Italian)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrQIM5kb8iE (Flemish)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J9eOeQX1F4 (Flemish)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrQIM5kb8iE (Flemish)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRlrfhrNnQ (French)
Siena – Siena (184,0 km)
1 Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) 5:03:33
2 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:39
3 Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) +0:58
Siena – Siena (136,0 km)
1 Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team 4:10:48
2 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon SRAM Racing 0:00:49
3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle – High5 0:00:59
16 Liane Lippert (GER) Team Sunweb 0:04:16
22 Abby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Trek – Drops 0:04:37
31 Clara Koppenburg (GER) Cervélo – Bigla Pro Cycling Team 0:10:47
43 Elizabeth Holden (GBr) Trek – Drops 0:12:56
51 Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon SRAM Racing 0:13:22
DNF Abigail Van Twisk (GBr) Trek – Drops
Le Samyn 2018 – February 27
The mini-‘Roubaix’ held in memory of Jose Samyn and raced since 1968.
The race features a number of cobble section in the Wallonia region of Belgium and the 2018 edition was held in dry but very cold conditions – the frozen earth was thrown up like dust as if a dry summer.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k2M2cI76zI (French)
1 Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) 4:46:43
2 Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) +0:25
3 Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie) +0:45
1 Janneke Ensing (Ned) Ale Cipollini 3:01:12
2 Floortje Mackaij (Ned) 0:00:04
3 Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Fdj Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:00:04
Tar and Gravel – January 28
New Zealand Race.
The full list is here with video and website links – https://veloklubhaus.com/2018/03/18/international-gravel-und-pave-rad-rennen-2018/