RIP, Gravel Racing.....UCI World Series & Championships coming in 2022

Well, this was inevitable, but it still sucks.

Why does it suck? Gravel racing is already super professional at the pointy end and just because the UCI has some gravel stuff doesn’t mean that every gravel race has to be UCI sanctioned and super official. I mean there is a UCI fondo series and UCI fondo world champs but that doesn’t really affect the casual rider who does a 100k fondo every year with their buddies.

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meh, i’m good with it. and maybe eventually current gravel events won’t charge an arm and a leg for people to do self-supported rides

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IMO, it sucks because the UCI is a corrupt, broken organization that can’t modernize…and will stifle what is appealing about gravel.

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I’m cool with this as long as other events don’t start making lots of rules and regulations. It will be great for the sport having gravel on a national level, not that it wasn’t already. Hopefully they keep the uci rules with uci events, it will be something else to watch and help cycling grow.

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What is appealing about gravel? Not trying to be contentious - just interested.

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Can’t argue with this

Ehh I’m not convinced of this. I think (at least in the next 5 years or so) very little will change in the US gravel scene. There might be some new UCI races but the regional races like Barry Roubaix, BWR, Mid South, etc will probably be essentially the same as they are now. Maybe just with some more world tour guys (as opposed to retired world tour guys).

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I 4-1 can’t wait for the first UCI gravel ban and the argument that it was due to tainted kombucha

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I personally don’t care that UCI is starting races or organizations will adapt to their rule sets, what I do care about is if UCI start putting rules on say bike innovation such as aerodynamics, tire size or anything in general.

Let the bike manufactures run wild

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Second this. The non pro nature of Gravel allowed people to just go wild in thinking about what to use on the bike. While i’m not against a competitive side of Gravel, if the UCI wants to use competitions to tell everyone what a bike should look like and be, they should go pound sand.

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Agreed,

If I want to show up with 33mm Slick Gravel Tires on a full blown 2009 Look 596 Time Trial bike who is to tell me I cant… I wont but I want that kind of freedom haha

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Got dropped in a “gravel” (wasn’t but kind of was) race the other day in the only technical off-road section by a guy on a road bike and 28mm gp5000s. I was on my CX bike.

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I would suggest doing a gravel race to see…there are multiple layers of appeal, IMO. People take from it what they want. Whether there is something there for you can only be answered by you.

Me personally, I like the competition combined with the individual challenge along with the settings where the races occur.

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I think this is horrible for the gravel scene. Besides everything said above, is the UCI / national governing bodies going to try and start licensing gravel races? Will I need to get a license to do a gravel event? Will the current mass start nature of gravel races be changed to having multiple separate races per category?

Or will this split the gravel scene between UCI sanctioned and non-UCI sanctioned? Similar to what happened in MTB in the early 90s?

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apologies to anyone who has seen my rant, but I’m finding gravel racing to be overpriced cash grabs. like seriously, what’s the overhead for promoters, are they having to pay for access to gravel roads? (I doubt it). As non-sanctioned events, are they insured? Some have some aid stations, but a lot of stuff is donated and staffed by volunteers. If I’m somewhere I can just as easily ride by myself with a route and aside from riding with a few people it’s essentially the same, since I wouldn’t really be in as a competitor.

Also, with having family in Nebraska and having done gravel worlds, it’s essentially just corn field after corn field, it ain’t that interesting lol

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I imagine it will look like CX currently in the US, where there are USA cycling categories at the lower levels and a UCI heat and the same overall event.

For gravel, this will probably be the standard mass start dual gender for the non-professionals (no UCI license required and same event) and a separate gendered start for the UCI pro heat.

99% of people showing up at gravel events won’t be in the UCI race anyways so it will change nothing for them (nor will they compete at the gravel world champs).

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For me it is the best of both worlds - road and mountain biking. The speed and distance of road riding but off pavement onto dirt/gravel. Country roads with little to no traffic. Exploring new areas. Varied road types and surfaces. Low key relaxed vibe (generally). Competition if you want it, fast or slow group rides if that is your thing. Looking back my earliest bike riding was gravel roads - I grew up on a ranch (long time ago) and as a child rode my old 5 speed up and down gravel roads as fast as I could. So, for me it is a little bit of returning to my roots.

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I’d say pretty much the same from a non-racing perspective (not exactly on topic I know). Around here I look to do gravel in the Sierra mountains and Central Coast, and unlike cornfield after cornfield it is visually interesting and changes constantly from moss covered tree canopies:

to stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the deep canyons in the Sierras :heart_eyes: Exploring the world on all roads.

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My thoughts:

Sanctioning is needed for the front / pro’s: from rules to drug testing. I do like the open rules on the bikes though.

98% of the participants likely, nothing will change.

Agree about the UCI, but this was a lost opportunity for someone to step up and create their own sanctioning body, especially someone in the scene. Pro / semi-pro (former and current) cyclists seem seem more interested in bickering and tearing each other down than banding together to do something like that, so it was ripe for UCI involvement.

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