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Gallery: Gianni Vermeersch takes historic win ahead of bigger names at UCI Gravel World Championships

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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) was hotly tipped to take the first men’s UCI gravel world championships in Citadella, Italy, on Sunday but instead it was his trade-team Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate Gianni Vermeersch who pulled off a brilliant win.

Vermeersch and Italian rider Daniel Oss broke clear about 80km into the 194km event and carved a lead of more than 5 minutes. And while riders such as Van der Poel, Nathan Haas (Australia), Davide Ballerini (Italy) and many others tried to chase, their efforts were neither sufficiently coordinated nor sustained to make a real impression on that time gap.

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The two leaders retained enough of their advantage to make sure of the top medals, with Vermeersch then securing gold with a solo move inside the closing seven kilometers.

Top photographer Kristof Ramon catalogued the day’s action; check out the gallery below for images from what was a stunning race.