The very first UCI gravel competition in Belgium this weekend in Houffalize had over 1000 riders at the start with the Dutch dominating the 110km qualifying distance to win both the men and women overall categories.
With start in 5 waves, riders from 19 different nationalities attacked the very steep Rue du Saint Roch climb where the peloton was quickly split in small groups in the first kilometre.
A group of 4 rode together most of the race with Dutch Jasper Ockeloen, already winner in Sweden last week, Belgian Seppe Rombouts, South African Hendrik Kruger and British Ben Thomas. They had a gap of more than 3 minutes to the rest of the field.
In the final, it was Jasper Ockeloen who made a 20 seconds gap to Rombouts and Kruger to take his second consecutive win.
In the female race over the same distance, German Stefanie Dohrn quickly made a gap who was at a certain point more than 4 minutes to Tessa Neefjes, the winner of the French qualifier in Millau early June and two other Germans Janine Schneider and Jade Treffeisen, all from the F19-34 age group.
In the final, the four came back together and Neefjes outsprinted Dohrn in the streets of Houffalize to take the overall win. Schneider took overall third.
In the shorter 68km distance who counted as qualifier for the men over 60 and women over 50, Dirk Claes (BEL) was the fastest of the qualifying categories winning his M60-64 age group. Dutch Judith Van Maanen outsprinted Marianne Van Leeuwen to win the female race in the categories over 50.