The first European UCI Gravel World Series event in Millau in the French Aveyron region this weekend was a complete Dutch party as both races were won by Dutch riders.
Niki Terpstra, former winner of Roubaix and Flanders proved that he has also the good skills to win gravel races. Right after the start going up the 8km climb to get out of the city of Millau, Terpstra was part of a 10-men break who reached the top together and decided to make it a hard race as the pace never went down.
After the passage through the picturesque village of La Roque-Sainte-Marguerite with a long technical downhill immediately followed by a 8.5km road climb, the battle continued, this time with only Adam Blazevic, the Australian winner of the second UCI qualifier and Piotr Havik remaining in Terpstra’s wheel to then see him making a gap at the military camp. Both competitors with cyclocross background admitted later at the finish that Terpstra was technically at least as good as them but made the difference in power sections uphill by slowly killing them with his pace.
Terpstra finally won in an average speed of 29.6km/h with 1m50 ahead of Havik while Blazevic lost some time later in the race with a flat tyre to take overall third at 3m28.
In the female race who started together with all men, Dutch Tessa Neefjes got the overall win in an average speed of 23.3 km/h after a hard battle with German Jade Treffeisen who got overall second at 1m32 while Irish Emma Porter finished third 15 minutes later for an international podium. Neefjes is a former Dutch road champion and part of the Giant Liv offroad team