Laurens Ten Dam has won the Queen’s stage of the Migration Gravel Race in 7hrs 12 min 55s ahead of Ian Boswell, Suleiman Kangangi and Geoffrey Langat after 3000m of climbing. The Dutchman extended the lead he established after winning stage 1 and is a strong favourite to win the overall classification.
Ten Dam attacked with 10km remaining after riding with Kangangi, Langat and Boswell throughout the 174km stage. He dropped Langat, then Kangangi and Boswell, and now enjoys a healthy lead over Kangangi heading into stage 3.
Ian Boswell redeemed himself after the disaster of stage 1. He crossed the line and said,
Having caught his breath, he then declared;
“I think gravel riding has reached it’s peak and adventure riding is the next thing, and this is an adventure race.”
Langat rode on and off the lead group after the final feed station, but could not hang onto his compatriot or the two former grand tour riders and finished 4th.
Ten Dam, Boswell, Kangangi and Langat broke away from the rest of the field at the base of the first major climb, and formed a formidable quartet. Kenneth Karaya, who finished 4th on day 1, was stuck a few minutes behind the leaders but was never able to make contact. At the first check point, he declined food and drink and powered through on his hardtail mountain bike after seeing the leaders stop for a few minutes to refuel. At the final feed station, he was still within 10 minutes of the leaders, and still riding alone. He eventually crossed the line with Thomas Dekker in 5th and 6th.
Karaya simply shook his head after finishing, while Dekker said,
“Steady climbing I can do, but I’m 10 kilos too heavy,” before checking his computer and adding,
“3100m is too much for a Dutchman to climb”
Trailing Karaya throughout the stage was another strong group containing Dekker, Jordan Schleck, Jean Eric Habimana, Edwin Keiya and the Masaka boys from Uganda, Kato Paul and Wasswa Peter.
Paul finished 7th just a few seconds ahead of Peter, while Keiya and Habimana completed the top 10. Schleck is one of a number of riders tackling the course on a hardtail mountain bike, and finished 11th, in front of Didier Munyaneza, Alvaro Galindo, Kenyan veteran David Kinjah and compatriot John Kariuki.
Boswell and Langat were the big movers on the Queen’s stage. Boswell showed his class after mechanical issues ruined his first stage and moved from 17th to 5th overall. Langat bounced back from 14th place and a 1hr 6 min time gap to Ten Dam, and sits 6th overall. Meanwhile, East African riders proved their resilience. The top 15 contained six Kenyans, three Ugandans and two Rwandans.
Two stages, two victories. Can anyone beat Laurens Ten Dam?