Tiffany Cromwell and Tanner Ward win the Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas

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There was mud, singletracks, cyclocross barriers and a bit of confusion on the course of the 110 mile Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas, which was won by Tokyo Olympian Tiffany Cromwell and Arkansas rider. Tanner Ward.

Unlike many other gravel races, women and men race separately at the Belgian Waffle Ride events, which was the fourth and final of the year.

On the women’s side, Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM), Flavia Oliveira (Excel Sports) and Hannah Shell (Cervélo-Kask-Shimano) were clear right out of Lawrence, Kansas.

After Cromwell’s pace left Snell behind, Oliveira escaped ahead on her own. And for a while, the three women did a separate time trial over the swaying hills of blowing Kansas.

In addition to the simple gravel roads, BWR Kansas also featured miles of singletrack and a 6.5 mile section dubbed Snake Pit that covered part of a local cyclocross course, with two barriers, winding, overhanging sections and many rocks.

Coming out of this section towards the end, Cromwell caught up with and passed Oliveira.

Tanner Ward drove BWR Kansas to victory on his own after dropping out of his break comrades in the “Snake Pit” cyclocross sector.

Route arrows or GPX route?

Race organizers made a last minute change to a section of the course and initially announced that riders were to follow course markings like arrows instead of the GPX file the race distributed.

At this altered point of the course, the two leading women followed the arrows, but then turned around when their computers beeped at them, saying they had deviated. At this point, the main media vehicle signaled them and told them no, the course arrows were correctly pointing the course, so they turned around again and continued.

At the same spot a few minutes later, Shell followed the course on his Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. She saw a few male runners coming the other way and finally realized she had to turn around. When she got back to the junction in question, fourth and fifth runners Sarah Flamm and Danielle Larson had arrived, and she had them follow the arrows.

Larson was third – but believed on arrival that she was fourth behind Flamm. Then, after Flamm arrived and explained that she had missed another turn as they were each riding on their own, the women’s podium solidified.

Roberge, Keller, Magee, Villafano follow the GPX route

In the men, a similar thing happened, but ahead of the race.

BWR Triple Crown winner Adam Roberge, who just won Big Sugar Gravel last weekend, entered Lawrence as the favorite handily.

At the change of point on the course, he and John Keller (Specialized), Jake Magee (Cervélo-Kask-Shimano) and Geno Villafano were leading the race. They checked their computers and followed the road.

Meanwhile, another quartet rode, having followed the signs, also believing themselves to be leading the race. This group of four included Ward, Christopher Prendergast, Ethan Overson (Cinch) and Alex Hoehn (Wildlife Generation).

The “snake pit” proved to be decisive. Ward entered the area first, which started out as a mowed, deeply saturated hill, and quickly turned into a mix of rocky singletrack and a true cyclocross course.

Ward made an effort and dug a breach. Pendergast continued alone behind, followed by Overson and Hoehn.

From there, open and often windswept gravel roads led to a final single-track sector along the Kansas River, which was narrow and windy but much smoother than Snake Pit.

Pendergast made one final dig in his chase towards Ward – closing in for a few bike lengths in the final yards, but Ward kept his edge on the line and celebrated his victory.

Behind, Roberge crossed the finish line in seventh position, and the Canadian was not celebrating. He spoke to race promoter Michael Marckx, insisting he won. Magee added that Roberge was indeed the strongest in the world and their quartet simply followed the route provided by the race on their computers.

Marckx told them that the change of course was announced at the start, where runners were asked to follow the arrows, not their computers.

BWR Kansas for women

  1. Tiffany Cromwell, at 6: 44: 59.88
  2. Flavia Oliveira, at 6: 54: 59.84
  3. Danielle Larson, at 7:03:25 17

BWR Kansas for men

  1. Tanner Ward, at 5:43:22:32
  2. Christopher Prendergast, at 5:43: 22.73
  3. Ethan Overson, 5: 44: 24.61
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