It was another Australian victory for Adam Blazevic at the Trek UCI Gravel World Series in Beechworth on Sunday with the Pedal Mafia-Giant rider, who won at Seven in Nannup Western Australia, returning from Europe and heading straight to the top step again.
The final climbs of the 115km Gravelista course that took riders past the Murmungee Lookout proved crucial for Blazevic who used the stepped ascents which peaked at around 15km to go to drop his remaining break companion Alex Lack and carve out a solid gap on the rest of the field .
“On that last climb I was able to get away and hold it to the end. Once I got over that climb, I knew I had a pretty decent gap, but I also wanted to play it pretty safe in the last 15km," ” Blazevic told Cyclingnews after the win. "I didn't really mind if I lost time as long, as I could just get here in this position."
Scott came from a chase group of five to win the race for the next spot on the podium, despite having to spend energy early to chase back after a crash which left him with blood running down his hands and leg. He finished seven seconds behind Blazevic, who took the victory with a time of 3:26:45.
“We were just working well together all the way to the finish,” road-focussed rider Cameron Scott (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) said of the chase. “Adam must have really sat up because we couldn't see him at all and only just coming down here [toward the finish line] was he in sight. He had the race won and we were racing for second at that point."
Jack Aitken (Pana Organic-Pedla Racing), who had a dig out the front solo at around 50km into the race, was third, coming over the line 12 seconds back from Blazevic. Lack, who had been out the front with Blazevic in the final 20km, finished nearly two minutes back in seventh after slipping off the back of the chase group.
Blazevic had come into the Beechworth round straight after a mid-week return from Europe, where he had raced across the Gravel World Series rounds in France, Poland, Sweden and Belgium. The 23 year-old took to the podium in France and even with some bad luck in Poland and Sweden was fifth and seventh. Belgium started well, with Blazevic in the front split and feeling that his form was good but then a slashed tyre made Belgium a write-off. A week, however, turned his fortunes around.
“I was pretty determined to come out here and have a good race,” said Blazevic. ”I have been travelling around a lot, I have been to a few different countries the last few weeks and then I landed in Australia Wednesday. So for me, it was a bit of an unknown.”
But Blazevic was always there through the changing lead groups on the 85 percent gravel course which delivered everything from hard-packed dirt on roads lined with blooming wattles, to smooth gravel through farmlands, rough and muddy sections, narrow trails and shallow river crossings.
The strength of the competition meant that it was never easy for Blazevic to establish the gap, but he kept the pressure on regardless.
"I wanted to push the pace and sort of see who was there,” said Blazevic. “I really wanted it to be a hard day.”
"I was putting in moves, like if I saw like even a couple of metres behind me I'd just go and try and make the race hard and never really let everyone have a good rest point, always keep everyone on their toes.”
It was about half way through, on a road section, that Blazevic made the move that stuck and, while he had a couple of different riders up front for company, there were none that could hold through to the end.
Now that Blazevic has taken his second Gravel World Series win, his attention is turning to the Gravel World Championships in the Veneto region of Italy, October 8-9. Beyond that, not surprisingly, another season of gravel is on the cards for the multi-discipline rider, perhaps with a stint in the United States as well this time.
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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 as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.
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