Team Škoda Fruzio have announced their squad for what they call their favourite race of the year; the 2019 Gravel and Tar Classic. The UCI 1.2 race sees a team of 6 get ready to take on one of the toughest one-day races in the Southern Hemisphere, and looking to finally climb that one extra step to the top of the podium.
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Leading the Team Škoda Fruzio outfit at this year’s Gravel and Tar Classic will be Alex West and Joel Yates. The pair enjoyed differing kinds of success at the recent Vantage Road National Championships in Napier, where West walked away with the sprint ace jersey and Joel took third in the U23 race. Adding to their impressive recent form comes the fact that West is a two-time runner-up at the Gravel and Tar Classic in both 2016 and 2017.
Gravel specialists Ben Oliver and Paul Wright will be working with them as well as Frank Sutton and Ollie Jones. Oliver’s reputation on a different surface precedes him, with the Kiwi placing 4th in the Commonwealth Games mountain biking event, as well as being the reigning U23 Cross Country Mountain Bike champion. Paul Wright, like West and Yates, hails from great form at the Elite Road National Championships where he took the KOM jersey after being in the break of the day.
Frank Sutton and Ollie Jones have both had great experience racing over in Europe, Sutton on the Belgian kermesse circuit and Jones for the Dimension Data for Qhubeka team. Racing with them took Jones to Italy, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
At last year’s Gravel and Tar Classic Ben Hamilton was the team’s best placed finisher in 6th place.
The Team Škoda Fruzio line up for the 2019 Gravel and Tar Classic is: