What's in a gravel title? The opportunities and pride fueling the new Australian champions

An exhausted Courtney Sherwell after sprinting to victory at the Devils Cardigan, which was hosting the AusCycling Gravel National Championships again in 2024
An exhausted Courtney Sherwell after sprinting to victory and claiming Australia's national gravel title at the Devils Cardigan 2024 (Image credit: Kristina Vackova)

Gravel was once an area that took an irreverent approach to some of the usual markers of cycling success and just a few years ago Australia's national titles in the discipline felt more like a sideshow than a seriously charged competition among a deep field of elite riders. However, it was clear at the Devils Cardigan on Saturday, as the AusCycling Gravel National Championships unfolded, just how much has changed.

We are a long way from the era when the elite men's and women's field didn't even crack a dozen riders combined and bragging rights were pretty much all that was at stake. Top competitors from across the cycling disciplines swept into Derby, Tasmania for a chance to claim the gravel stripes while specialists in the discipline hurried back from Unbound to arrive ready and prepared for the event in the heart of the Southern Hemisphere winter on Saturday.

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Simone Giuliani
Australia Editor

Simone is a degree-qualified journalist that has accumulated decades of wide-ranging experience while working across a variety of leading media organisations. She joined Cyclingnews as a Production Editor at the start of the 2021 season and has now moved into the role of Australia Editor. Previously she worked as a freelance writer, Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg. Cycling was initially purely a leisure pursuit for Simone, who started out as a business journalist, but in 2015 her career focus also shifted to the sport.