The Serenissima Gravel, the first-ever gravel race geared exclusively towards pro racers, took place on Friday in Italy, and it was Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) who came away triumphant in what was also his first-ever gravel racing appearance.
Former pro Filippo Pozzato and bike designer Jonny Moletta founded the Serenissima Gravel as part of a series of open rides and competitive events in the Veneto region of Italy called Ride the Dreamland. Pozzato is hoping to grow the series into a major late-season draw for pro riders.
The versatile Lutsenko, who counts two Grand Tour stage wins, multiple one-week victories, and a seventh-place overall finish at this year’s Tour de France on his career palmares, was among the headliners in attendance for the inaugural edition of the Serenissima Gravel, which ran 132 km from Lido di Jesolo to Piazzola sul Brenta. He duly delivered with an attack on the gravel from more than 80 km out.
Despite the chasing efforts of a group that included Nathan Haas (Cofidis) and multiple Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux riders, Lutsenko he held on to take the victory, turning his first gravel race into his first gravel race win.
Riccardo Minali (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) nabbed runner-up honors 42 seconds later with just behind Haas to round out the podium.