The growing gravel cycling boom has not gone unnoticed by UCI, which has already announced the dates for the offline and open Gravel International Championship 2023. As the unofficial world championship was held at the Worlds in Nebraska, USA, the official event of such majority and respect seems to be shocking news for the whole bike-minded industry.
Where exactly will the grave bike championship be held?
In 2023 the competition will take place on September 30th – October 1st, but the venue has not yet been confirmed. The event is going to take place in Italy and will be held in an open format, which means that both amateurs and professionals can participate altogether.
The UCI has already made its first foray into gravel with the International Cycling Series. These serve as qualifiers for the International Championships, which may be held in September 2022 and October 2023.
Of the qualifying events, seven is going to take place in Europe, two in America, one in the Philippines, and two in Australia. With distances ranging from 55 to 80 miles, World Series races are much shorter than those in popular drag races.
What is the icing on the cake?
It’s a new concept, where sportsmen still have to prove themselves. Experts say it will take a few years, maybe three to five to determine such a cycling indeed. It takes time.
The interesting thing about this format is that it will be open, where amateurs and professionals will compete in the same tests. Something so far unusual in the world of cycling, where international events have always been reserved for professionals.
UCI hopes and aspires that some of the biggest names in road racing may want to compete for the rainbow jersey. Bike brands, always looking to sell more and reach new riders, have seen gravel as a very interesting business niche. They combine all the advantages of an MTB and a road bike.
The fact that brands are so focused on riding means that the chances of a successful World Championship are much higher. It’s likely that the big names in cycling may participate in these tests at the initiative of their sponsors.
Once again: what is gravel cycling about?
It is a kind of middle ground between road and mountain cycling. Essentially, cycling on dirt roads, and the curves of the land do not have to be gravel. Anything from sand, and side rails, was used. In general, wherever you can ride a bike without asphalt, you can talk about gravel cycling.
Here the bike lover is free to experiment with different terrains by paying attention to how the bike handles different types of ground surfaces, which creates a much more exciting riding experience.
This is a great solo adventure, but it also works well for group rides. While you can easily get out on your own, you should also look for scheduled races nearby that are open to the public. Such riding is available almost everywhere, and for good reason.