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UCI announces gravel series and official world championships

SBT GRVL 2021, a 144 mile gravel race starting and finishing in Steamboat Springs
SBT GRVL 2021, a 144 mile gravel race starting and finishing in Steamboat Springs (Image credit: Linda Guerrette)

The UCI has announced the creation of an officially sanctioned gravel series and world championships after the conclusion of the Management Committee meeting during the UCI Road World Championships in Belgium. The decision adds a tenth discipline to the international federation's events. 

The federation has partnered with Belgian event organiser Golazo to create a UCI Gravel World Series of mass-participation races which will serve as qualifying events for the new UCI Gravel World Championships.

Golazo also organises the Gran Fondo World Series and World Championships as part of the UCI Cycling For All initiative.

The organisers of the Eroica rides in Tuscany offered to host the first ever gravel world championships but the event is likely to be held in the USA, where gravel events have developed rapidly in recent years. 

No details of the rules governing the gravel events or which events will be part of the series have yet been revealed.

There is already an event in Nebraska that calls itself the Gravel Worlds which held 300-mile, 150-mile, 75-mile and 50km races in August. Lauren de Crescenzo and John Borstelmann won the 150-mile titles this year.

Gravel joins road, mountain bike, track, cyclo-cross, BMX, BMX freestyle, trials, indoor cycling, and e-sport on the list of sanctioned disciplines.

The federation also announced a new ranking for MTB short track and a test event for a cyclo-cross team relay at the 2022 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Arkansas.

The UCI also said it is "exploring new possibilities" to create a Snow Bike World Cup and World Championships for the 2022-2023 winter season, to be discussed at the next Management Committee meeting.

UCI President David Lappartient said: "Cycling continues to innovate, this time in off-road with the creation of a very interesting new ranking for mountain bike cross-country short track, the recognition of gravel – an additional and rapidly expanding discipline – the launch of a new team format in cyclo-cross and the exploration of new avenues for the development of snow bike."

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