Evenepoel to make gravel racing debut at Belgian Waffle Ride in Kansas
Organisers announce Evenepoel and Cattaneo will take part in shorter ride at October 31 event
Organisers of the Belgian Waffle Ride gravel race series have announced that Deceueninck-QuickStep duo Remco Evenepoel and Mattia Cattaneo will be taking part in the Kansas event on October 31.
The race will be the first time either rider has tasted the world of gravel, a fast-growing discipline of cycling in recent years. The Kansas event is the fourth Belgian Waffle Ride of the year following races in San Diego, North Carolina, and Utah.
Evenepoel and Cattaneo will be among the riders at the event, although Cyclingnews understands that they will not be tackling the full-length 178-kilometre (111-mile) 'Wafer' course, which features 2,438 metres of elevation gain.
The pair will instead compete in one of the shorter 'Wafer' or 'Wanna' courses. The 'Wafer' is 124km (77mi) long and features 1,326m of elevation, while the 'Wanna' is 53km (33mi) long and features 457m of elevation.
Katerina Nash and ex-road pros Peter Stetina and Ian Boswell have won previous events this year, while Tiffany Cromwell and Ted King are among the other well-known names to have taken part in Belgian Waffle Rides in 2021.
Evenepoel's previous outing on gravel roads came on a road bike back at the Giro d'Italia in May. The 21-year-old, who was racing his 11th day since returning after his 2020 Il Lombardia crash, struggled on the strade bianche stage to Montalcino, losing over two minutes to his main GC rivals.
His and Cattaneo's decision to take on the gravel race is the latest move from road pros towards the gravel scene. Last week, the pro-only Serenissima Gravel event was held in northern Italy, with Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) taking a solo victory, beating Riccardo Minali (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Nathan Haas (Cofidis) in a 134-kilometre race.
Elsewhere, EF Education-Nippo pair Lachlan Morton and Alex Howes often take part in gravel races as part of the team's 'alternative calendar', while several riders – including Stetina, Laurens ten Dam, and the retiring Kiel Reijnen – have made the switch to gravel after stopping their road careers.
The 'Hell of the Mid-West' Belgian Waffle Ride in Lawrence, Kansas runs from Friday, October 29 to Sunday, October 31, with the main race kicking off early on Sunday morning.
Editor's note: This article originally stated that Evenepoel and Cattaneo would be taking part in the full-length race.
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.