In a thrilling finale, Matej Mohoric impressively won the second edition of the Gravel World Championship. The Slovenian was crowned world champion in the Italian region of Veneto after a battle with Florian Vermeersch (silver) and Connor Swift (bronze), whom he managed to defeat in the final kilometers. Top seed Wout van Aert played second fiddle due to an unlucky day, but still finished eighth.

After the starting signal it became a serious elimination race. Little by little the group of favorites was reduced. The defending champion Gianni Vermeersch, among others, stayed behind. The top favorite, Wout van Aert, had bad luck in the initial phase, but despite a mechanical problem he remained in the main group of about 40 riders.

Then the unfortunate phase of the all-rounder Van Aert continued, who crashed and was left in the first group, formed by Matej Mohoric, Florian Vermeersch, Connor Swift, Paul Voss, Cameron Mason and Alejandro Valverde.

Mohoric, Vermeersch and Swift turned out to be the strongest at the head of the race, because 70 kilometers from the finish line they already had a minute and a half advantage over a group that included Valverde, Voss, Keegan Swenson and Alessandro De Marchi. Quinten Hermans managed to join Sebastian Schönberger, although the deficit was already more than two minutes.

The three leaders maintained a strong pace, while the chase was losing ground. At a measurement point 38 kilometers from the finish line, the lead was already almost four minutes, so, barring bad luck, the medal winners were already known. Swift went first on the steep climb to San Vigilio, 24 kilometers from the finish line.

Vermeersch was pressured several times by Mohoric and 18 kilometers from the finish line he managed to separate himself from his greatest rival. The Slovenian became increasingly distant. The difference oscillated for a long time around 15 seconds, but finally Vermeersch’s chain came off.

Mohoric thus extended a lead of 40 seconds, survived the steep Collagu’ (1.7 km at 11.8%, maximum 23%) and launched himself into the descent. Due to the risk he took, he slipped briefly on a sharp turn, but Mohoric quickly got up and continued on his way and after 169 kilometers of racing, he was proclaimed “gravel world champion.”

Men’s Gravel World Championship 2023 Results

1.- Matej Mohoric Slovenia 4:53:56

2.- Florian Vermeersch Belgium 0:43

3.- Connor Swift Great Britain 3:40

4.- Alejandro Valverde Spain 6:48

5.- Keegan Swenson United States 6:48