Triathletes led the way at the British Gravel Championships on Sunday as Alistair Brownlee and Ruth Astle claimed titles in the 19-34 age group.
Two-time Olympic champion Brownlee had recently completed Spain’s iconic off-road Badlands race, completing the 748km event in seventh position after a little over 57 hours in the saddle.
Sunday’s event near Bury St Edmunds was a different type of challenge, with three laps of the circuit resulting in a 78km race for the British title
Brownlee takes British title
Brownlee, Kiwi Ryan Christensen and Cameron Mason set a blistering pace up front and were literally neck-and-neck throughout an epic battle.
It was Christensen who produced the telling final sprint to finish just ahead of Brownlee, with Mason a handful of seconds further back. But due to his nationality Ryan was not eligible to win the British title so Alistair took the honours.
Speaking on Instagram afterwards, Alistair said: “Great racing at @kingscupgravel today. Second overall and first Brit making me (unofficial) British Gravel champ!
“Thanks for putting on an awesome event. This kind of racing has a big future. Two hour race. 70km. Mixture of track, grass, sand and woodland trails.
“Well done to all the other guys that raced.”
Astle beats India Lee
The women’s 19-34 event didn’t provide the epic finish the men had delivered, mainly because of Astle’s dominance. She blasted out to an early lead and was even able to survive a crash on the final lap to claim top spot on the podium.
Another triathlete, India Lee, who made the podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Nice last weekend, took second with Helen Ralston third. The victory margin for Astle was almost six minutes following a dominant display.
Ruth’s verdict afterwards was, “a lot of fun and very unexpected”. Modest to a fault.
King’s Cup Gravel Festival Results 2021
- Ryan Christensen (NZL) – 1:59:55
- Alistair Brownlee – 1:59:55
- Cameron Mason – 1:59:59
- Ruth Astle – 2:16:43
- India Lee – 2:22:29
- Helen Ralston – 2:22:43