Kasia Niewiadoma Strikes Gold in UCI Gravel World Championships

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

Kasia Niewiadoma of Poland and Slovenia’s Matej Mohorič, two strong road race riders with excellent bike-handling skills, won gold in the second annual UCI Gravel World Championships, held Saturday and Sunday in and around the Italian town of Pieve di Soligo.

In the elite women’s race, Niewiadoma used a daring 20 km solo ride to win her first-ever world champion’s rainbow jersey in her first gravel bike race. Naturally, the 29-year-old rider was delighted. “This is so sweet!” she said in a statement released by her professional team. “I really don’t have words for it. It’s my first rainbow jersey. I’m just so happy!”

The podium was completed by riders she knew very well from road racing. Italy’s Silvia Persico finished second, 33 seconds behind, while this year’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift winner Demi Vollering (Netherlands) came in third, at the same time as Persico.

The elite women’s course covered 140 km and included eight short climbs of varying gradients, with the most difficult being the Ca’ del Poggio (1.2 km @ 12.3%). Niewiadoma said she sensed on the very first climb, the Collalto (2.4 km @ 4.8%) that she had a chance to win. “From the first climb, I knew that today would be a great day,” she said in a statement issued by the race organisers. “It is a victory that repays an entire season where I have always attacked and fought with the strongest athletes but without being able to win as much as I would have liked.”

Kasia Niewiadoma
The victorious Kasia.

It has been a frustrating few seasons for Niewiadoma who finished third in this year’s TdFF while winning that race’s Queen of the Mountains jersey but had not won a race since 2019. Her climbing ability served her well on Saturday, as she began an important move on the Ca’ del Poggio, where she broke away with three other riders from a large breakaway containing most of the favourites. The two groups eventually came together again, and the eventual winner used another climb, Le Tenade (0.9 km @ 6.5%), with 20 km left to race to ride away from Persico, Vollering and Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands).

“I didn’t think I would go alone,” she said, “but I wanted to eliminate some numbers in the group. I knew the final lap from the course recon and that there were some technical parts, so I felt it was a good time for me to go at that moment.” With 1 km to go, Niewiadoma had increased her lead to 38 seconds and soon cruised across the finish line to record her first victory since the Amstel Gold Race in 2019. “After such a long time of not winning a race, it’s so special to win this,” Niewiadoma said.

A big congratulations to Kasia from We Love Cycling!