With the growing popularity of gravel style terrain events we seem to be seeing it more and more lately introduced into the pro peloton. Strada Bianche has been the go to Classic where we see more of a smooth style dirt road terrain, but the recent Dwars Door Het hageland 1.1 category one day race held in Belgium showed a more urban style gravel terrain.
These rough roads combined with the narrow paved roads of Belgium accumulated to a tough, hard fought tricky race where the standard team tactics proved to be hard to handle.
Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) showed his strength on the day by being part of the main breakaway from 50km to go only to attack the break later during a gravel section with only Sean De Bie of Veranda’s Willems-Crelan able to join. De Bie would later puncture through a gravel sector forcing Neilands to go alone.
The punctures didn’t stop there though as Neilands also suffered a puncture with 20km to go but was able to receive a quick wheel change and still hang onto enough time for his solo victory. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) would lead the shattered peloton in for second on the day.
The addition of these urban gravel sectors shaped up for some uncontrollable racing that proved to be very exciting. The question is, will we see more of this style terrain in top professional races?