2023 UCI Gravel World Championships route reveal

Men will race 169k and women 140k on courses that "are much harder and hillier than last year," says Erwin Vervecken.

Photo: Massimo Fulgenzi/SprintCyclingAgency

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On Friday morning, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and race promotor Pedali di Marca announced details of the race routes for the second edition of the UCI Gravel World Championships. The event will take place on October 7-8 in the Veneto region of Italy.

All races for all age groups and categories will start at Lago Le Bandie in Treviso and conclude in Pieve di Soligo, situated 23km further north.

The province of Treviso has deep ties to cycling — bike brand Pinarello is based there — and is also known for the production of Prosecco and the cultivation of radicchio.

Read also: 2023 gravel worlds update #1

2022 UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto (Italy)
Gianni Vermeersch (BEL/Alpecin-Deceuninck) and breakaway partner Daniël Oss (ITA/Total Energies) at the 2022 UCI Gravel World Championships (Photo: Kristof Ramon/©kramon)

According to a press release from the UCI, the Gravel Worlds course will take riders on a dynamic blend of gravel and paved roads that encompass both extensive flat stretches and challenging inclines.

The elite men will race 169km (105 miles) and 1890m (6,200 feet), and the elite women’s course is 140km (87 miles) with 1660m (5,446 feet) of climbing.

All women’s categories and the men in the 50+ age categories will race on Saturday, October 7.

Both race courses begin with a lap around Le Bandie lake, where the 2008 UCI Cyclocross World Championships was held. Then, there is a relatively flat 30km gravel section before the first hills. Riders will cross the finish line for the first time after completing 46km. A second loop to the northeast contains more paved segments but also a substantial increase in elevation, culminating with a second passage over the finish line after 86km.

The final western loop starts with a 30km mix of short gravel and road segments, all on flat terrain. The last 25km features two climbs, the last one particularly steep and culminating 5 kilometers before the finish line in Pieve di Soligo.

For men over 65 and women over 50, the second loop is omitted, and the riders will proceed directly to the third loop, resulting in a total distance of 100km with an elevation gain of 1030m.

On Sunday, the elite men and male age group categories 19-49 will also set off at intervals. The race format mirrors that of Saturday, commencing with the same 46km loop towards Pieve di Soligo.

The second northeastern, loop is extended by 10km, featuring a broader circuit around Lago di Lago and the addition of the Ca’ del Poggio climb after 85km.

The third loop also includes some extra distance, primarily on the flat sections, but maintains the same two challenging climbs as on Saturday.

Read also: Wout to worlds

2022 UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto (Italy)
2022 UCI Gravel World Championships (Photo: Kristof Ramon/©kramon)

According to UCI Gravel World Series race director and former ‘cross world champ Erwin Vervecken, 2023’s courses “are much harder than last year, especially the middle section which is quite hilly. The first and last sections are mainly gravel, the middle part has more road,” he said.

Last year’s worlds’ routes were similar to this year’s in distance but lacked any significant climbing. The 2022 women’s worlds route was 140km with only 700m of climbing. Furthermore, many of the gravel sections were paths rather than the gravel roads traditionally used in gravel races.

Vervecken said, aside from one section that is on narrower path-like surfaces, “95 percent of the roads on this year’s route can be driven in a car.”

Recently, Keegan Swenson and Lauren Stephens became the US gravel national champions. They, along with second and third place finishers, Alexey Vermeulen, Brennan Wertz, Alexis Skarda, and Crystal Anthony, received automatic qualification for the world championships.

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