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The event will be held on June 24, 2023, outside of the northwestern Arkansas city of Fayetteville.
UCI Gravel World Series director Erwin Vervecken has confirmed that the Highlands Gravel Classic will be the only qualifier for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships in the United States. He said that the comprehensive series schedule will be released “sometime before Christmas.”
There is rumored to be another North American qualifier in Ontario, Canada on June 17, 2023.
In 2022, the Highlands Gravel Classic was one of two gravel worlds qualifiers scheduled to be held in the United States; ultimately, it was the only qualifying event in the US after Jingle GX in Iowa was canceled.
Last year, the event was plagued by low turnout, but race director Bruce Dunn said that early marketing and a renewed interest in gravel worlds should yield different results next year.
“The 2023 Highlands Gravel Classic is getting an early start in terms of marketing and registration being opened to ensure that every gravel cyclist in the U.S. can get this event on their calendar to take their shot at qualifying for the World Championship race in Italy,” Dunn said.
The top 25 percent of finishers in 10 men’s and 10 women’s age groups will qualify for the world championships.
Men from 19 to 59 and women from 19 to 49 will compete on a 66.4-mile course with nearly 5,000 feet of climbing, while men 60+ and women 50+ will compete on a 52.4-mile course with nearly 4,000 feet of climbing. Both courses are 95 percent gravel. All races start and finish at Fritchie Farms, which is just east of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships will again take place in the Veneto region of Italy in over the weekend of September 29-October 1.
Registration for all events opens today, Thursday, Dec. 8 at 8 a.m. CST. Registration links and complete details can be found at www.highlandsgravelclassic.com.