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Emily Newsom and her EF Education-TIBCO-SVB WorldTour teammate Lauren Stephens are no stranger to gravel races. While Stephens has been racing gravel longer, in addition to multiple seasons racing in Europe, Newsom has won gravel races in her home state of Texas and in Oklahoma. In 2021, she won Gravel Locos in Texas and was second to Moriah Wilson (Specialized) at Big Sugar.
On Saturday, Newsom was sixth at The Mid South, behind winner and former pro roadie Lauren De Crescenzo, and just ahead of recently retired WorldTour pro Ruth Winder.
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“It was very tough,” Newsom said at the finish of the 100-mile race in Stillwater, Oklahoma. “The women were really strong and of course the men really dictate the race for us, too, when we race together, and today there was a really good field. So yeah, it was very tough.”
The Mid South had two main pinch points: a dry creek crossing at the midway point that followed by a steep climb, and a heavily rutted, muddy two-track at mile 25. The front group was shattered coming out of that section were all riders had to dismount for at least a portion, and there was often only a single line.
“I had to get off and run the first part there, and then I was able to ride the rest of it,” Newsom said.
The front group was whittled to about 20 riders coming out of that section, with a few chase groups forming behind. Newsom went into that section with De Crescenzo and the other leading women, but came out behind her.
“That was the last I saw of her,” Newsom said of De Crescenzo, who in turn was behind second and third place Savilia Blunk and Moriah Wilson exiting the pinch point.
In the final miles, Newsom made up some ground but was empty for the finish.
“I was with a group of guys that were really awesome to work with,” she said. “We caught these other two girls [Holly Mathews and Paige Peters] near the end, and then I had nothing [for the sprint finish between the three]. So yeah, hard day.”