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BRUGES, Belgium (VN) — It’s confirmed: the first UCI-sanctioned gravel world championships will be contested in 2022.
The booming discipline will see its UCI-sanctioned rainbow jersey and a new qualifying series.
No dates or details were revealed, but the UCI confirmed Wednesday it’s reaching into gravel.
Sources told VeloNews the first world championships likely will be contested in the United States.
“From next year, the UCI will organize – in collaboration with events organizer Golazo – a UCI Gravel World Series consisting of events enabling athletes to qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships,” a press release stated.
“This discipline combines elements of road and mountain bike, and takes place mainly on unsealed roads (gravel, forest tracks, farm roads, cobbles, etc). Races in the UCI World Series will be mass participation events.”
Officials said more details about the series and world championships will be revealed in the coming weeks and months. It’s not yet clear how many races will be part of the series or in which countries the events will be contested.
The entry of the UCI, along with more detailed rules and anti-doping controls, could alter the face of top-level racing in the already-booming gravel scene.
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Lappartient said in 2019 that the UCI was watching the booming gravel space with interest, and hinted a world championships could soon be in the works.
The COVID-19 pandemic put everything on pause, but with major gravel races back on the calendar in 2021 across the United States and beyond, the UCI said the time is right.
In other UCI news, the cycling governing body announced Wednesday:
- “A test event for a cyclocross team relay will take place during the 2022 edition of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas (USA) on 29-30 January. This test event will then be evaluated with a view to potentially integrating the team relay into the programme of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in the future”
- “The development of snow bike continues, and the UCI is exploring new possibilities for organising a UCI Snow Bike World Cup and UCI Snow Bike World Championships for the 2022-2023 winter season. An analysis is currently underway, and its results will be presented to the UCI Management Committee in January 2022.”
- “Cross-country short track will have its own overall ranking, as is already the case for cross-country Olympic (XCO) and downhill (DHI). That means that a UCI World Cup winner for this speciality will be crowned at the end of the season in both the men’s and women’s competitions. At the same time, XCC will continue, as is the case today, to play a role in deciding the positions of the riders on the starting grid for the XCO events (the 24 highest-ranked riders in the first three rows). Points gained in the XCC will also continue to count towards the UCI World Cup ranking for XCO.”