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Peter Stetina (Canyon-Clif Bar) won the Belgian Waffle Ride Cedar City on Saturday, while Whitney Allison (Bike Sports) took the crown for the women.

The southern Utah event was billed as a ‘true gravel edition’, covering 128 miles with 6,300 feet of elevation gain. While 70 per cent of the course was unpaved, one of the biggest challenges is the continuous day of riding at altitude, as Cedar City sits 5,800 feet above sea level. It was the third of four Belgian Waffle Ride events this year, and the final event for the 2021 ‘Tripel’ Crown of Gravel series. 

On a hot day in southern Utah the last 40 miles created separation for six of the male riders. Then in the final 11 miles on the climb up Shirts Canyon to the most technical sector of the day, the ‘Tolweg’ – an intense dirt section is 4.4 miles in length – was decisive in the outcome of the race for Stetina to break away from Griffin Easter (Start Cycling).

“It was the singletrack,” said Stetina at the finish about the decisive section of the race where he took command. “The old cagey vet won today.”

Easter, a Utah rider, won the Baked Potato race in Idaho earlier this year ahead of Colin Strickland and Stetina, finished second on Saturday, while Paul Voss completed the podium in third.

“I’ll give it to Griffin [Easter], he was the strongest rider for the day, 100 per cent. I couldn’t ditch him on the climb. He rode pulls but we have a lot of respect for each other,” said Stetina, who won the opening event in the series in southern California.

“I pushed it on the Tolweg, gnarly single track. I was hoping he’d make a mistake, and I heard the puncture. You know, sometimes when the sound is so loud that it’s not a quick little plug. You could tell it was an unfortunate circumstance for him. That’s gravel racing. When the point is the intense single track and you’re pushing it, that’s the race.

“For me, it’s kind of nice to win with a different tactic, not always just on the climbs. You’ve gotta be able to do everything out here.”

Easter said he tried to put air in his tyre and ride for a while, but in the end was happy with second place, noting it was indeed the “worst place to get a flat.” 

In the women’s division, Allison said she earned her goal for the year of a victory, saving the best performance for her last major race of the season. Lindsay Goldman (Factor Eliel Honey Stinger) finished second and Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling) rolled in third in Cedar City. 

A day of attrition, Allison and Goldman rode together for a long time after Franz had flatted, then Allison struck out alone to survive without crashing or flatting.

“It ended up being Heidi [Franz], Lindsay Goldman and I with some of the Wafer group, and we stayed with them until they turned off for the rest of their route,” she said, noting that some riders from the 81-mile Wafer ride had caught them before the routes split at the 53-mile marker. 

“Heidi unfortunately flatted and I think Lindsay was really struggling with the altitude. Essentially, I ended up alone for a very long time. This was really freaking hard.“

This year the Cedar City event capped a trio of events, along with those in California and North Carolina, for the ‘Tripel [sic] Crown of Gravel’ series. The Tripel Crown offered a separate prize purse to the top three men and women, based on cumulative times. The individual races offered prize purses for top-five men and women finishers.

Leading up to Cedar City, Sofia Gomez Villafane led the women’s overall and QOM categories, while Ian Boswell led the overall and KOM for men; neither raced in Cedar City.

Results – women
Pos. Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Whitney Allison (Bike Sports) 7:02:00
2 Lindsay Goldman (Factor Eliel Honey Stinger) 0:07:28
3 Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling) 0:08:56
4 Helena Gilbert-Snyder (English Endurance) 0:11:51
5 Lindsey Stevenson (ABUS Pro Gravel) 0:14:57
6 Holly Breck (Rally Cycling) 0:17:54
7 Melisa Rollins (TWENTY24) 0:23:36
8 Sarah Jarvis (Cedar Cycle) 0:26:56
9 Anne Donley (Hylands Wingman Smart Energy) 0:26:57
10 Nikki Peterson (KS Kenda Women’s Elite MTB) 0:30:55

Results – men
Pos. Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Peter Stetina (Canyon-Clif Bar) 5:57:31
2 Griffin Easter (Start Cycling) 0:02:25
3 Paul Voss 0:03:40
4 Adam Roberge (Elevate – Webiplex Pro Cycling) 0:08:03
5 Alexis Cartier 0:11:46
6 John Borstelmann
7 Matt Jablonski 0:14:15
8 Serghei Tvetcov (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling)
9 Steano Barberi 0:22:35
10 Brennan Wertz
SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Jackie Tyson
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