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Is the Rift Gravel Race the most spectacular off-road events in Europe? – Gallery

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The Rift Gravel Race

Racers have to content with all sorts of elements in the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

It’s not all about racing along gravel with river crossing also part of the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Stunning scenes at the Rift Gravel Race in 2021 (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Peter Stetina leads the reduced field at the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Deep river crossings in Iceland’s Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

We applaud this rider’s enthusiasm (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Taking on a river crossing at the Rift Gravel Race is tougher than it looks (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

The Rift Gravel Race in a 200km event that tests riders’ skills and endurance to the max (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

The leading group tackle one of the many short, sharp climbs at the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Wet and windy conditions but the landscape at the Rift Gravel Race is like no other event (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

The wet conditions slow down the riders as it alters the texture of the gravel surface (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Beautiful scenes at the 2012 Rift Gravel Race in Iceland (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Green landscapes dominate certain points of the Rift Gravel Race before they give way to the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

When you’re not racing flat out, riders can take in the incredible views on offer in the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Riders either pick traditional MTB set up or go down the path of gravel bikes for this off road test at the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Peter Stetina is all smiles after his 2021 Rift Gravel Race win (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Riders are forced to walk up some of the steepest sections at the Rift Gravel Race in Iceland (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Stunning views out to see at the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Holly Mathews wins The Rift Gravel for elite women (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

The Rift Gravel Race circumnavigates one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)
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The Rift Gravel Race

Drone images provide breathtaking shots of the Rift Gravel Race (Image credit: Hordur Ragnarsson, Kordian Skwarczek, Snorri Thor Tryggvason)

Last weekend saw some of the best gravel racers in the world descend on Iceland for the Rift Gravel Race – one of the most unique and stunning off-road events on the planet. 

The 200km event, held last in 2019 after a brief hiatus due to COVID19 restrictions, didn’t disappoint in its return, with Holly Mathews winning the women’s test and Peter Stetina claiming the men’s crown. 

The conditions for the event were far from perfect, with rain and winds driving into the athletes for most of the day, while the wet conditions also slowed down competitors as it effected the texture and nature of the ground’s surface. 

Despite that, the Rift Gravel Race provided some of the most breathtaking scenes and landscapes of any gravel on the planet. Riders were able to race through rich greenery before taking on the beautiful desolation of the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland as the course circumnavigates one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla. 

There were water crossings, spectacular views of glaciers and volcanos, and non-stop climbing action to test the riders’ mettle and mental fortitude before reaching a finishing village packed full of local beers and festivities. 

The organisers kindly sent through this epic gallery that you can scroll through, and if you’re tempted, registrations for 2022 open in the coming months.

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