Remco Evenepoel‘s criticism of a segment of off-road racing in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana on Friday have sparked further debate on the growing trend to introduce sterrato gravel roads into road racing.

After losing the race leader to Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-hansgrohe) on the uphill finish at Antenas del Maigmó on stage 3, Evenepoel was at pains to emphasise afterwards that Vlasov was a deserving winner and had taken the lead fair and square. But he was scathing in his criticisms of Valenciana’s unprecedented introduction of a sterrato section, saying it was “getting close to mountain biking” that the race was “hard enough already” and that the sterrato had not contributed anything to what he described as “a beautiful race.”

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