Matej Mohorič capped off his incredible 2023 season on gravel, becoming the 2023 UCI Gravel World Champion in Italy on a technical 169km route from Lago Le Bandie to Pieve de Soligo.
The Slovenian sensation made his move with 18km to go, leaving the Belgian Florian Vermeersch behind. With a gap of 18 seconds, Matej gained a further advantage on the Belgian due to a mechanical 14km to go, with the gap widening to 30″. From there, with no idea about the gap, Matej opened it further on the brutal climb of the day up the Collagu. The 1.7km climb that averages at 11.8% gave Matej an advantage of 43″. But with no race radio to know the gap to the closest rider, he descended on in classic Matej style.
Pressing on towards the finish and looking over his shoulder to get a glimpse of Vermeersch, Matej continued to press on and, in doing so, crashed with 3km to go, but luckily, the Slovenian was back on his bike within seconds to soloing to victory.
Matej Mohorič: “I’m super proud of this achievement. The feeling is great. I had one of the best days on the bike; I enjoyed it so much! The parcours today was beautiful. If I tried to design it myself, I couldn’t do better: it was super technical, sharp and steep climbs, and it suits me perfectly. It hurt my legs, but I was happy; my mind was super happy.
Congrats also to Florian and Connor. They were also super super strong, but I took advantage of the weight in my favour on the climbs.
I always believed in it from the very start. The more I was making it through selections, the more I felt I had good legs, and I knew very well the final as I reckoned the last 40km. I only cut a corner in the finale, while in the recon I went around it on the path, but it was not a great idea, and I slipped out. I stayed calm. I didn’t panic as I knew I had a small gap. Today I really enjoyed it!”
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