Gravel (Race) Controversy?

I really think comparing gravel racing to stages in the Giro or other races is bit misplaced. They are not the same thing and have very different histories.

I am absolutely NOT saying Roberge did anything wrong…just pointing out that I don’t think it is a valid comparison.


This is my tactic and I used it to get a PR top 10 finish at my last big gravel race. I have no business sitting on the front taking actual pulls when others are willing to do it for me.

AMEN :pray:

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I mean they’re both mass start, high speed professional bike races. It’s not always going to be a 1:1 comparison because of team sizes and other aspects but they are much more similar than they are different. Especially considering most of these gravel racers were (or still are) professional road racers only a few years ago.

Obviously the lack of big teams and the technicality of the terrain make some of these tactics more difficult but the basics remain the same.

Right. I even think the Ivar Slick “controversy” is a bit irrelevant to overall gravel racing. He was racing for the win while the others were racing for points. Sort of a stage win vs GC scenario.

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Curious…Why not? I don’t think anyone is comparing their history, tradition, etc., etc. But the implication that whining is endemic to American gravel events isn’t really true,

It’s true of world tour goat herders as well :goat: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I don’t know why, but for anyone who follows F1, this reminds me a lot of the Max Verstappen philosophy of racing. His teammate, Sergio Perez, has put in good work as a teammate, even helping seal the 2021 world championship by fending off Lewis Hamilton.

Fast forward to 2022, with his second world championship title already in the bag and a race left to go, Max declares “no presents” when his teammate asks for an easy pass on the track to secure the #2 season ranking.

At some point, it’s either racing or it’s not.

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Because that history / tradition is what is generating the complaints in gravel.

Again, not defending it as I disagree with it. Just saying the comparison is not really valid. If you made those points to Boswell or Stetina, their response would (rightfully) be - That is exactly what we are trying to prevent.

It’s basically my goal in a gravel event to get in a group where I can’t/don’t pull but I’m strong enough to hang on for the ride.


Let me throw out a plug for my favorite gravel racer, stalwart of the Michigan peloton, former world tour pro and all around good guy … Alexey Vermeulen

I think he really sets the right tone. He’s a good ambassador, trains with a wiener dog(!!), wins some races and never makes excuses (at least that I’ve heard). Finished 2nd in the Lifetime last year and never spoke anything less than complimentary about anyone … but he’ll ride you off his wheel with a smile if he gets the chance🤘


In Berwick’s defence he was doing equal pulls until they attacked him on the climb. After being dropped He red-lined hard to catch back on and THEN they asked him to take a pull.

If anything it was cheeky of them to ask him to contribute when just moments earlier they tried to drop him. Glad Berwick wasn’t intimidated. He’s young and I hope he gets a WT stage win one day.


You can’t compare a job to a hobby. One’s primary focus is money the other is pleasure. If they want “the spirit of gravel”. Quit social media, quit all your sponsors and prize money, line up mid pack, stop at feed stations and help out your fellow riders and enjoy the spirit of gravel. If you want the fame and money stfu and do your job.


Wanting everybody in the group to do equal pulls is only a view that the stronger people in the group hold. If they want gravel racing to be a big happy group ride where everyone pulls hard and equally then they need to take away the salaries, big money, winning incentives, etc. Otherwise, people are going to do what they need to do to win because that could be the difference between not getting contract renewals and getting a big raise.

Gravel Racing is only different than road racing for those who are in the middle or back doing more of a personal TT, fondo style. It’s back there where the real “spirit of gravel” lives. The ‘normal’ people who are giving their all for the sense of accomplishment for having done the same difficult course that the pros did. They don’t care about who did more work or who sat on the front group. They just know they didn’t get dropped and pulled like you do in a road race.

I expect the front of these races to be all out racing for big money and glory. If they want anything else then they can start at the back, go hard on climbs, talk to people, smoke a J, stop at all the aid stations for a sandwich, and just chill.

I think they are confusing Races for Fondos.


I’m going to say it - these flat ass gravel races are boring. If they were televised nobody would watch. They are the equivalent of those lower tier flat Belgium races that all end in a sprint.

Ian should realize that it’s a sprinters race. Do sprinters take pulls before the end? Usually not.


Well, good thing I am not trying to make that point then.

If you heard Keegan after Unbound last year, there is no mistaking, he was racing for the win.


My last gravel race I was riding with 2 others. I joked with 1 that it was super convenient her pulls often coincided with paved sections on the course.

I forgot who said it or where I saw it, but if Pete Stetina wants to experience the REAL spirit of gravel, all he needs to do it pass up his personal mechanic, race van, etc.

Then he’ll be neck deep in the holy waters of all that is sacred about the sport.

I keed. I keed. I actually like PS a lot. But the point still stands.


I don’t think it’s their job to be gatekeepers for the sport.

The sport of gravel racing is approaching the end of the beginning of its evolution. Let’s see how it expands and evolves naturally. It could fully mature into something really amazing.

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I, for one, am grateful to all these complainers because where else would I get my weekly dose of gravel drama? I also love the idea of L39gion joining the gravel circus, it would be the cherry on top of the juicy “Spirit of Gravel” Sunday race recaps.