The gravel races for qualifying for the World Cup in Veneto and in preparation for Unbound on June 3 have started. After a satisfying fifth place at Traka 2023 in Girona, a race in which I debuted last year and immediately won, I cycled the 3Rides Gravel in Aachen. A race on a circuit of 15 km that had to be completed 7 times and there less suitable for me to hook up with the specialists. After a disappointing 28th place, I was able to take revenge in the first race of the American campaign. The Gravel Locos is a 150-mile course through the sweeping Texas countryside. It was a tough race with a strong field of participants including the other Dutch Mafia riders Jasper Ockeloen, Laurens ten Dam and Thomas Dekker. In the first two hours the pace was immediately high with the wind slanting from behind. This resulted in a group of 15 strong men. At 23 kilometers from the finish, full pace was made after a river crossing and 10 men remained. After a run-out attempt by Jasper Ockeloen failed due to a fall of fellow escapee Payson McElveen, the small group stayed together until the finish. In the sprint I took the third place. Canadian Adam Roberge won. The top 10 also consisted of a lot of big names that we know from cycling: Paul Voss was second, Alex Howes fourth and Petr Vakoc sixth. All these men will also compete against each other in the unofficial WC Gravel as Unbound is also called. My file can be seen on Strava: 252 km in 7 hours and 04 minutes. An average of 35.6 km/h.