Victory in the Dust: Valverde and Franz Dominate the Hutchinson Ranxo Gravel

Alejandro Valverde was the big favourite at the start of the 2023 edition of the Hutchinson Ranxo after switching to gravel racing earlier this year and his impressive win in the first UCI Gravel race of the season. Other famous riders at the start were Ivan Garcia Cortina (Movistar), Samuel Sanchez, Olympic Road champion in Beijing 2008 and former Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost.

A group of 25 riders quickly split up from the peloton with all favourites. In the female race, American Heidi Franz made an early move to go solo quickly after the start.

The decision in the men’s race came late in the final when good old Alejandro Valverde made a two-minute gap to Ivan Garcia Cortina winning in 4h50:16, 2m16 to Garcia Cortina with CX rider Kevin Suarez Fernandez as overall third at almost 3 minutes for a complete Spanish podium in an average speed of 34.3 km/h.

Heidi Franz was caught back by British cyclocross rider Anna Kay halfway in the race who even went solo, but it was finally Franz again winning with a 4 minute gap to Kay for the female win with Spanish Claudia Galicia Cotrina as overall third at 6 minutes for a very international podium in an average speed of 29.1 km/h.

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