Demi Vollering wins her first national title…on gravel

WorldTour riders filled the podium at the first ever women’s Dutch national gravel championships.

Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

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Demi Vollering (SD Worx) took victory in the first ever Dutch national gravel championships in Epe on Saturday afternoon, beating Floortje Mackaij (Team DSM) in a two-up sprint after almost two hours of racing.

“It’s the first national title that I’ve won,” Vollering said afterwards. “I’m going to be very proud to wear the red-white-blue during my training sessions.”

Vollering was one of a number of WorldTour riders on the startlist, a few weeks off the back of a busy road season that ended at the Ronde van Drenthe on 23 October, and immediately following the customary off-season.

“This was my first week back on the bike, and I also rode a new bike from my team,” said Vollering, whose season ended in Drenthe after taking overall victory at the Women’s Tour in early October. “I really enjoy gravel biking and I was hoping to compete for the win.”

The race played out on laps of a flat course that covered hard-packed grit, tree-lined farm tracks and a whole lot of sticky mud – which has had some critics question its ‘gravel’ status. Vollering herself was a little underwhelmed by the course in the days before the race, but having found a love for gravel during the pandemic, she was keen to support the event.

After four of nine laps, Vollering and Mackaij rode away from the group and quickly found a gap, but when Lorena Wiebes counter-attacked, her DSM teammate Mackaij stopped pulling. Despite having no help, Vollering maintained their slender advantage until Wiebes finally cracked in the closing kilometres.

“I attacked from a group of four and Floortje joined me,” Vollering explained. “Then we heard that Lorena Wiebes had counter-attacked, so Floortje stopped working. Only I really didn’t want Lorena catching on, so I kept riding. Luckily I won the sprint.”

Earlier in the day, Tijmen Eising (VolkerWessels) won the men’s title ahead of teammates Coen Vermelfoort and Daan van Sintmaartensdijk.

Tijmen Eising took the men’s national gravel title ahead of two VolkerWessels teammates.

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