Belgian Timo Kielich planned to enter a road race on Sunday 30 April, but it was cancelled and the former Cyclo-cross world champion decided to try his first gravel race, UCI Gravel Fondo Limburg in the Netherlands, which he won convincingly.
From a field of over 1000 gravel riders, the 23 year-old Kielich (ICO-Crelan) soloed across the finish line arms raised with a final time of 3:14:36 on the 113 kilometer course. 24 year-old Brit Cameron Mason (3:15:28) and 40 year-old Spaniard Ismael Esteban Aguero (3:16:04) were next.
“This is my first official gravel race. Because a road race got canceled I decided to sign up for Gravel Fondo Limburg. It’s amazing to win! The course was amazing with a great mixture of technical stretches, flat off-road sections and challengings climbs,” a smiling Kielich proclaimed afterwards.
Martha Maltha, 39, from the Netherlands claimed the women’s race. The reigning UCI Gran Fondo World Champion completed the race in 3:45:02, just ahead of youngsters Janine Schneider (3:46:06) and Tessa Neefjes (3:48:16).
Maltha was astonished at her victory, “My goal was to train, but my legs were pretty strong today. Especially in the climbs I could accelerate. In the last descent I fell and I was not sure about my position in the race. I was completely flabbergasted with the result!”
In the 79km medio fondo race Kristof Daelman (2:40:51 Men) and Marijke De Smedt (2:52:33 Women) earned victory.
The third round event in the 2023 UCI Gravel World Series afforded men and women the opportunity to qualify for the Gravel World Championships by finishing in the top 25% of their age/gender category.
Complete Gravel Limburg results HERE
Photo Credit: Gravel Fondo Limburg
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