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Niki Terpstra wins Millau Gravel World Series round

Dutch Niki Terpstra of Total Direct Energie pictured at the start of the Circuit de Wallonie one day cycling race 1922 km from Charleroi to MontsurMarchienne Charleroi Thursday 26 May 2022 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Niki Terpstra (Team TotalEnergies) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Niki Terpstra came through the line solo to take victory at the third round of the Trek UCI Gravel World Series, with the Dutch Team TotalEnergies rider dropping his breakaway companions to get a clear run to the line at the Wish One Gravel race in Millau, France.

The Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner had been working out the front with Australian multi-discipline rider Adam Blazevic, winner of the last round in Nannup, Western Australia, and fellow Dutch rider Piotr Havik (Westland Wil Vooruit), who last month came second at the Traka 200 in a sprint finish with Unbound winner Ivar Slik.

The trio distanced their rivals on the 130km course, which started with a steep climb to the east from Millau before continuing through the woods and fields of the Aveyron region. However, ultimately the group split and Terpstra was in the lead as they worked their way back toward the finish line under the towering Millau Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge spanning more than 2km.

Terpstra held his rivals at bay, finishing alone on the final tarmac section before throwing his hand up in celebration after 4:25:06. It wasn’t far off two minutes later that his nearest rival Havik crossed the line of the course with 2000m of climbing, while Blazevic, around 3-and-a-half minutes behind Terpstra, rounded out the podium. 

The Australian, who pushed the pace early, had lost contact with the lead pair after making a mistake on a steep technical section.

"I was able to ride myself back into second, but unfortunately sustained a front puncture just after," said Blazevic in an Instagram post. "Still stoked to be able to hang onto 3rd in this field and looking forward to Poland now!"

"Overall really happy with the whole day after riding back to the front from some mechanical issues throughout the day. Keen to spend some time in Girona now and prepare for the next races."

It was then a solid gap until the next round of riders crossed the line. Emeric Turcat was the first home-nation rider to finish, taking fourth, while Daniel Bonello (Equipos Oleka) came fifth ahead of Terpstra’s TotalEnergies teammate Geoffrey Soupe.

The next round of the UCI Gravel World Series will be held in Poland on Saturday June 18 before the racing moves onto the United States, in Fayetteville on June 25.

Results - Top ten overall
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Niki Terpstra (Team TotalEnergies) 4:25:06
2Piotr Havik (Westland Wil Vooruit) 0:01:50
3Adam Blazevic 0:03:28
4Emeric Turcat 0:11:44
5Daniel Bonello (Equipos Oleka) 0:12:08
6Geoffrey Soupe (Team TotalEnergies) 0:12:38
7Simen Nordahl Svendsen (Konnerud IL) 0:16:13
8Michael Mottram (Team Spectra Wiggle P/B Vitus) 0:23:49
9Dani Moreno (A.C Sant Just) 0:24:02
10Alonso Eduardo 0:24:51

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Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.