Matteo Trentin: Gravel sectors have no place in stage racing or even Paris-Tours

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana gravel sector on stage 3
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana gravel sector on stage 3 (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency)

Remco Evenepoel's criticism of a segment of off-road racing in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana on Friday have sparked further debate on the growing trend to introduce sterrato gravel roads into road racing.

After losing the race leader to Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-hansgrohe) on the uphill finish at Antenas del Maigmó on stage 3, Evenepoel was at pains to emphasise afterwards that Vlasov was a deserving winner and had taken the lead fair and square. But he was scathing in his criticisms of Valenciana’s unprecedented introduction of a sterrato section, saying it was “getting close to mountain biking” that the race was “hard enough already” and that the sterrato had not contributed anything to what he described as “a beautiful race.”

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.