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A road bike wins the gravel worlds | Gianni Vermeersch’s gravel-tuned Canyon Ultimate CFR

A road bike wins the gravel worlds | Gianni Vermeersch’s gravel-tuned Canyon Ultimate CFR

Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch soloed to victory to claim the men’s rainbow jersey at the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships – riding a road bike. Having…

Sunday, Oct 09

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Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch soloed to victory to claim the men’s rainbow jersey at the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships – riding a road bike.

Having established a two-man breakaway with Italy’s Daniel Oss with 130km of the 194km course to race, Vermeersch attacked with 10km remaining aboard a Canyon Ultimate CFR shod with Vittoria Terreno Dry tubeless gravel tyres (33mm at the front, 35mm at the rear).

Vermeersch’s Alpecin-Fenix team-mate and pre-race tip Mathieu van der Poel finished third to round out a podium dominated by WorldTour pros, in a race that favoured the road stars dipping their toe into gravel, over the gravel specialists, including 2022 Unbound winner Ivar Silk.

That was reflected in equipment choices, too. With only 800m of climbing and hard-packed conditions, some riders opted for road frames and gearing, with gravel tyres swapped in, over specialist gravel machines. (We saw the same trend in the elite women’s race ).

Vermeersch, who cut his teeth in cyclocross, and van der Poel were among the WorldTour pros on the start line on road bikes, while Oss (and Peter Sagan) was riding a Specialized Roubaix endurance road bike with gravel tyres. An Ultimate in gravel disguise

Vermeersch and van der Poel used the new Canyon Ultimate , launched only in September.

It’s an evolutionary update of the previous Ultimate, with subtle aero tweaks and, crucially as far as this race was concerned, increased tyre clearance.Canyon quotes a maximum tyre clearance of 32mm but, as is typically the case, there’s room to run […]

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