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For Tiffany Cromwell, part of the charm of gravel is its seeming contradictions: It’s relaxing yet grueling. It’s intensely competitive but accessible to all. It’s grassroots and, increasingly, global. For Tiffany and partner Valtteri Bottas, gravel is also an international endeavor, from the recent FNLD GRVL (Finland), SBT GRVL (Colorado), and RADL GRVL (Australia).

Tiffany of CANYON//SRAM Racing captured the pro women’s category of the challenging 177km Midnight Sun Route of FNLD GRVL in a hard-fought race.

“I’ve been racing 50-50 road/gravel since 2021. My first ever gravel race was 2019, at SBT,” Tiffany said. “Since meeting Valtteri and coming to his hometown of Lahti, Finland, it’s common for us to get out in the forest. We didn’t have gravel bikes to start with. It was either road bikes on gravel trails because they’re fast and smooth enough or just mountain bikes. The single-track stuff is a bit more technical."

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The second you leave the city, it’s just pure nature. It’s quiet. You escape from traffic and everything. It’s just a beautiful place if you have to switch off.

–Tiffany Cromwell

For Tiffany, gravel also ignites the spirit of competition. Over her long road career, she’s battled for victories but now often works in domestique and support roles for other riders on CANYON//SRAM Racing. She embraces the helper role and tempers it with opportunities to fight for the win in gravel events.

Tiffany and Valteri are partnering with Colorado’s SBT GRVL—one of the world’s most famous gravel events—to build FNLD GRVL and RADL GRVL in Tiffany’s native Australia.

“The goal for FNLD GRVL is to make it the premiere gravel race in Europe. We’ve seen that in recent years, gravel has really taken off in Europe. It has a different vibe in general in Europe compared to the U.S. We want to bring the best of both worlds,” she said. “Yes, we want to get the best pros here, and we offer great prize money and have a competitive field, but then also be accessible for everybody: have multiple course lengths, have all these (shake out rides), really create community, have a great expo.”

Tiffany in victory

Scheduled for January, RADL GRVL at the Santos Tour Down Under runs over the hills, forests, vineyards, and tree groves of McLareVale, Australia. “It’s no surprise Australia has incredible gravel,” Tiffany said. “We have big cities, then a whole lot of nothing.”

And, in gravel, a lot of nothing is something big!

Tiffany rides Zipp 303 wheels, TIME XPRO Pedals, and SRAM RED AXS and XPLR components.

Photos by Thomas Maheux