Crystal Anthony of the Liv Racing Collective took her first win of the UCI Gravel World Series at the Highlands Gravel Classic, Arkansas.
Liv Racing Collective athlete Crystal Anthony crossed the finish line solo in an impressive win at the Highlands Gravel Classic, with a time of 4:09:13, a triumphant nine minutes ahead of second place. This was Anthony's first UCI Gravel World Series race after moving over from the CX world and claiming 21 UCI Cyclocross victories.
The rugged 106km course, nestled amidst the Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks, Arkansas, creates a challenging yet captivating experience for the riders with approximately 95% of the route consisting of gravel terrain. "I was excited for a slightly “shorter” race with plenty of climbing in 1,890m of elevation change. Doing well in both the punchy 5-10 minute climbs and the loose descents would factor into a good result," explained Anthony after the race.
Adding to the difficulty was the scorching heat, with temperatures soaring up to 37°C with humidity. Despite these conditions, Anthony kept to her plan and in a strategic move, broke away from all other riders on the final significant climb. With 32 kilometres remaining she maintained her lead and crossed the finish line alone on her Devote Advanced with a significant lead. "I wanted to be patient in the heat but also capitalize when the course suited me. In the end, I was able to pull away on one of the later climbs and ride solo to the finish."