The Migration Gravel Race has once again proposed a four-stage challenge around the Maasai Mara National Reserve

The rains of the last few months have made the paths of the wildest Kenya even harder and more technical

The American Sarah Sturm and the Dutch Hans Becking return from Kenya as leaders of the Gravel Earth Series. The 1.000 points earned at the Migration Gravel Race catapults them to the top of the overall ranking. The five Gravel Earth Global events, the most important and most prestigious, give extra points, a fact that has caused many athletes who shone in the Maasai Mara to climb positions. Among them, all the members of the podium. We are talking about the Danish Luise Valentin and the Italian Mattia de Marchi, seconds, and the British Maddy Nutt and the Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay.

However, none of them won the first leader’s jersey. The first stage, on Tuesday June 17th, did not disappoint, with muddy terrain that made it harder than expected due to the rains of the last months. This fact made the four stages harder than expected. This has been the first contact with the characteristic and unforeseen gravel of Kenya during 140 kilometers with 750 meters of positive gain. The victory went to the Belgian Lawrence Naesen and the Rwandan Xaverine Nirere; both would fall just short of the podium in the overall ranking with fourth place. Behind them, Hans Becking and Sarah Sturm came in second, presenting their candidacy for the title.

The German Lukas Baum and the Danish Luise Valentin lost most of their chances on the first day due to mechanical problems. They overcame them to win the second and queen stage of 170 kilometers with 2700 meters of positive gainon Wednesday June 18th. It was the climbing stage on gravel with breathtaking views from the escarpment. No one could dispute their victories. This was the beginning of Valentin and Baum’s comeback attempt. Behind, Sarah Sturm entered second to get a leader’s jersey that she would not relinquish. On the other hand, Hans Becking lost a few minutes that took him away from the lead. The new leader was the Italian Mattia de Marchi.

Lukas Baum also won the third stage of 140 kilometers with 1100 meters of positive gain on Thursday June 19th. It was the fastest stage of Migration. Baum joined forces with Hans Becking, they would cross the finish line together. The German would fall in the fourth stage abandoning any idea of epic, but the Dutch would cut some of the time lost to Mattia de Marchi, riding just behind them, leaving the gap at eight minutes with one stage to go. On the women’s side, Sarah Sturm won the sprint over Luise Valentin. The American was aware that she only had to keep an eye on the Danish rider for the final victory.

The situation between Sturm and Valentin was repeated in the fourth and final stage of 165 kilometers and 1400 meters of positive gain on Friday June 20th, but this time it was the Danish biker who was a few seconds ahead of the American. In fact, the stage victory went to Amity Rockwell, but she was out of the overall ranking as she did not start on the third day. Thus, Sarah Sturm won the Migration Gravel Race crown ahead of Luise Valentin. The podium was completed Maddy Nutt. The regularity of the British, always present in the places of honor, led her to the podium of the best. On the men’s side, we experienced a heart-stopping end with Hans Becking and Mattia de Marchi claiming final glory. The Italian couldn’t keep up with the Dutch. Becking found in Baum the best ally, until the fall, while De Marchi was supported by the American Chad Haga behind. Becking took the solo victory. It was time to look at the chronometer. De Marchi and Haga came in together and exhausted, but their commitment and courage were not enough. Hans Becking would inscribe his name on the Migration Gravel Race history by only two minutes difference. Their partner on the podium was a gigantic Tsgabu Grmay. The Ethiopian, the best African of the race, signed a great performance and his consistency and constancy was rewarded with a third place of great value.

Giraffes, zebras, elephants and wildebeests wanted to steal the limelight from the participants during the fourth stages. The Migration Gravel Race terrain left every cyclist in awe, making for a truly spectacular experience. The breathtaking landscapes have surely made the participants suffer and savor the journey in equal measure. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the race was unforgettable for all involved. In addition, the Migration Gravel Race was an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant culture of the Maasai people. All the participants could take a moment to connect with the Maasai community, whose traditions and stories are interwoven with the very land they were biking across.