Nancie Akinyi won the Queen’s stage of the Migration Gravel race in 10 hrs 02min 24s and created an intriguing battle with Betsy Welch for the women’s overall title. Mieke Luten finished third after crossing the line with her compatriot Dorien Geertsema.
Akinyi broke away from Welch and the Dutch duo at the beginning of the stage before encountering problems,
“I went off course,”
By the time she rejoined the race, Welch, Geertsema and Luten had caught up. Akinyi surged again up the long, steep climbs and enjoyed a lead of about 10 minutes over Welch at the final check point.
“I’m suffering,” she explained, “I’ve had my ups and downs today.” She quickly refuelled and set off for the final climb.
Welch, meanwhile, was battling a philosophical conundrum as well as the exhausting terrain.
“Do I care, do I not care?” about winning, she asked herself while snacking and cursing her leaking water bottle. She of the sparkly spokes and pink bar tape said,
“My body hurts. I’ve had lots of struggles today, but I’m doing better,”
Welch won stage 1 convincingly, and finished about 14 minutes behind the Kenyan on stage 2. Luten and Geertsema, meanwhile, are riding together steadily and consistently. Welch still leads the overall, but Akinyi is coming after her.