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Gravel

Peter Stetina soloes to victory at Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville

Stetina, Haas, and Voss top the podium one week post-Unbound.

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At BWR Asheville, riders faced 131.7 miles of mixed surface terrain that featured over 12,000 feet of climbing. 19 dirt sectors made up a total of 50 miles of unpaved surfaces that twisted and turned through the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina.

The race set off in a mass start after a tribute to Moriah (Mo) Wilson, who took a dominating win at BWR San Diego in April. Wilson was killed in Austin, Texas on May 11.

Peter Stetina, who is in contention for both the Life Time Grand Prix and the Belgian Waffle Ride Quadrupel Crown this year, soloed to a win after spending most of the day in the company of other current and former road cycling pros.

How the race went down

The first move of the day came from rider Benjamin Wright. Wright built up a maximum lead of three minutes over a main group of 30-40 riders before he was caught with around 90 miles remaining.

By the halfway point, the group hit the steepest climbs on the day and whittled down from 30 riders to just eight.

“There was a little jeep track that felt like 30 percent,” Stetina told VeloNews. “Then there was this cyclocross, dirt singletrack down. A lot of people had to walk but that front group cleared it.”

At that point, the front group included another ex-WorldTour pro, Brent Bookwalter, as well as Griffin Easter, pro ‘cross racer Kerry Werner, Alpecin Fenix’s Eddie Anderson, Stephen Vogel, Nathan Haas, and Paul Voss.

German pro Paul Voss cranked up the heat and a group of four, including Stetina, Haas, and Easter, separated themselves from the others. Easter later flatted out of the group.

Related: Nathan Haas’s throwback Colnago G3-X might be the coolest bike at Unbound Gravel

With 45 miles to go, Stetina put in a huge attack on a major climb. He gained four minutes over a chasing Voss and Haas.

“I sensed the moment and went early,” Stetina said. “I definitely imploded at the end but was able to hold on.”

Stetina crossed the line with two minutes over Haas, who was able to dislodge Voss and ride to second place on the day. Haas powerslided across the finish before greeting Stetina who was sitting in the grass.

“That was another level,” Haas said with a smile.

Stetina had his first taste of modern mixed-surface success at the Belgian Waffle Ride San Diego in 2019. He was still the WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo at that time, but the the victory proved pivotal for Stetina and helped set the course for the next chapter of his career as a gravel privateer.

Next up for Stetina is the Oregon Trail Stage Race in Bend, Oregon on June 22.

BWR Asheville men’s results:

  1. Peter Stetina,(case of the nightly Waffle Sweats), 6:55:23
  2.  Nathan Haas (Colnago- Castelli), 6:57:35
  3. Paul Voss (AUT’SAID), 6:59:39
  4. Stephen Vogel (Project Echelon Racing), 7:15:05
  5. Brent Bookwalter (BMC), 7:15:49