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VeloNews March/April 2020

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VeloNews brings you inside the sport of bike racing, with exclusive features, analysis, expert training advice, unbiased gear reviews and the absolute best cycling photography.

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United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC

in this issue

2 min.
the people have spoken

Three years ago we published our first gravel-centric issue of VeloNews, and we followed that up with gravel issues in 2018 and 2019. After each issue was published I received a few letters from readers. Gravel is a fad, a passing infatuation, a conspiracy by the bike industry to sell more bikes, they told me. This summer, our online race report from Dirty Kanza 200 generated far more traffic than anything we published from the Tour de France. Our gear reviews for gravel bikes and gear produce similar spikes in reader traffic. Just before we published this issue, USA Cycling held a symposium for gravel promoters, and at the meeting, it was revealed that there are now approximately 700 gravel events in the U.S. in 2020. Folks, the people have spoken. All…

1 min.
mud master

Dutch rider Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) navigates a section of peanut butter-like mud during the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Namur, Belgium on December 22. Heavy rains soaked the technical course around the Namur citadel in the days before the race, and riders awoke to find standing water and enormous mud puddles on the track for race day. Dutchwoman Lucinda Brand escaped for the win, while Alvarado battled through the muck to finish second. With the result, the 21-year-old Alvarado inched closer to the World Cup series overall; she eventually took the series lead at the following race in Zolder. Born in the Dominical Republic, Alvarado competes for The Netherlands, and has quickly become the woman to beat in international cyclocross. NIKON D5; 170MM LENS; 1/800 SEC; F/3.2; ISO 1000 9 Alvarado’s…

4 min.
ted king, payson mcelveen, and alison tetrick

What do you consider to be the monuments of gravel? TED KING: Rooted Vermont (laughs). I’m not trying to make it all philosophical. Will there ultimately be a national series you literally have to go to to accumulate points? We don’t know. But to stay simple, Dirty Kanza 200; Belgian Waffle Ride has some great history. It’s interesting because then you have races like Barry-Roubaix that has, like, 4,500 people or something ridiculous. Iceman Cometh has 6,000 people. This is a hard hitting question! I’d almost say Dirty Kanza is one of the only that has the reputation to even call it a monument. The monuments exist in history because they’ve existed for 100 years. We’re in the nascent stages of gravel that it’s hard to say, or even tag the word monument…

1 min.
race radio

"Every bike racer needs a really strong team. This is not a single person sport, and it’s a shame I can't bring them all onto the podium with me." —U.S. road champion Ruth Winder thanked her Trek-Segafredo teammates after beating Amanda Spratt to win the Tour Down Under 4 Australian overall victories at the race in five editions 3 Overall wins by Spratt 2 Second-place finishes by American riders at the race “My perspective was like hey, take the risk and take the small paycheck. If you finish top-10 at Roubaix then that will become a big paycheck really fast.”—EF Pro Cycling’s Jonathan Vaughters offered Dirty Kanza winner Colin Strickland a WorldTour spot for 2020. Strickland turned him down. 33 Strickland’s age, in years 10 editions of Paris-Roubaix raced by Matthew Hayman before he finished top-10 38 years 8 months Age of Gilbert…

3 min.
talking points

What registration format should the country’s most popular gravel races adopt? FRED DREIER Editor-In-Chief I’ve always liked the New York Road Runners’s registration for the New York City Marathon. The NYRR holds a lottery for the lion’s share of race spots, and boats two other avenues for entrants. The first is the nine-plus-one avenue: If runners complete nine NYRR running races and then volunteer at one in the same calendar year, they can get in. Also, the NYRR holds many spots for its charity partners, and runners can gain access to the race if they agree to raise more than $3,000. In my experience, both avenues create an extremely strong connection between runners and the race and the local community. Would this work in gravel? The charity avenue is a no-brainer, especially for…

2 min.
heavenly descent

The peloton descends one of the most terrifying and iconic gravel roads in Colorado’s Front Range, Oh My God Road, during the inaugural Celestial Seasonings Zinger Cycling Challenge in 2000. The punishing one-day race connected Boulder with the ski village of Breckenridge, and took in more than 15,000 feet of total climbing across the 139 miles. Organizers Mo Siegel and Len Pettyjohn were quick to compare the race to the hardest stages of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. The Zinger Challenge boasted a diabolical obstacle that even the Tour and Giro lacked at the time: two terrifying descents on rough dirt roads. Oh My God Road served as the first test; 11,617-foot Guanella Pass was the second. After leaving Boulder, the race splintered on the early ascents of Coal Creek Canyon,…