Sofia Gómez Villafañe is on a roll. The Argentinian mountain biker has already scored victories at Cape Epic and Rule of Three this year, and can now add a victory in the Women’s Unbound 200 to her stellar – and growing – tally.
Despite apparently not training on a gravel bike all winter, or training for more than five hours straight, Gómez Villafañe rode solo over 80 miles to claim a victory impressive nine minutes ahead of defending champion Lauren De Crescenzo with Emily. Newsom third at 21 minutes.
A mix of weather conditions and a new southerly course meant the men’s and women’s 200-mile courses were completed in record time. Gómez Villafañe finished with a time of 10:27:41, an hour 33 minutes faster than De Crescenzo’s winning time in 2021.
She did it aboard the Specialized Crux, a bike that was Specialized’s go-to cyclo-cross bike for a long time until its relaunch in 2021, when Specialized tweaked its geometry to better suit the discipline. trendiest of gravel racing, putting it alongside the Diverger in the lineup. While fellow Specialized-sponsored athlete Ian Boswell opted for the more comfortable and capable Diverge, Gómez Villafañe spent the day aboard the lighter model, which draws inspiration from the design of the super-lightweight Aethos road bike from the brand.
The increased speeds of the 2022 event meant an increased focus on aerodynamics, and ahead of the race the recurring debate of aero bars in the gravel surfaced again. As Ivar Slik’s Wilier Rave SLR shows, the male winner was so supportive of their use that he printed custom mounts to fit his bike. Despite her roots in mountain biking, Gómez Villafañe is clearly also a believer in time trial technology and has had an unbranded pair fitted to her handlebars.
Along with that, the bike was fitted with a groupset that included parts from Shimano’s road, gravel and mountain bike lines.
Most of the components come from Shimano’s top-of-the-line GRX Di2 groupset. Up front, it’s paired with a Dura-Ace road crankset with 50/34 chainrings, and out back, an 11-40 XT cassette is installed. Unlike Slik, Gómez Villafañe used mountain bike pedals, opting for Shimano’s top-end XTR model, and she wore S-Works Recon shoes.
Most of Gómez Villafañe’s bike specs were courtesy of bike sponsor Specialized. Big S’s component subsidiary Roval supplied their Terra CLX wheels, and these were wrapped in Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires, size 42c. His saddle was the S-Works Power Pro with Mimic with carbon fiber rails, and even the bottles and cages were supplied by Specialized.