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What’s in a gravel title? The opportunity and pride that fuels the new Australian champions

Gravel was once an area that took an irreverent approach to some of the usual hallmarks of cycling success and just a few years ago the Australian national titles in the discipline felt more like an afterthought than a seriously charged competition between a deep field of elite riders. However, at the Devils Cardigan on Saturday, as the AusCycling Gravel National Championships unfolded, it became clear how much has changed.

We’ve come a long way from the era when the elite men’s and women’s fields couldn’t even beat a dozen riders combined and bragging rights were pretty much the only thing at stake. Top competitors from all cycling disciplines descended on Derby, Tasmania for a chance to claim the gravel stripes, as specialists in the discipline rushed back from Unbound to arrive ready and prepared for the event in the dead of winter in the Southern Hemisphere on Saturday .