Flanders to host World Cup gravel racing in 2024
Flanders will organize another cycling world cup in 2024 after last year's successful road cycling world championship, namely the UCI Gravel World Series. Golazo, which is in charge of the organisation, released the news on Thursday.
The International Cycling Federation (UCI) is organising its first gravel racing world cup this year, in the Italian region of Veneto. In 2024, it will be Flanders' turn. The event will take place in the Brabant Woods in the province of Flemish Brabant, formed by the Hallerbos, the Zoniënwoud and the Meerdaalwoud.
"Gravel racing has quickly evolved from a 'hype' to a full-fledged part of cycling," Christophe Impens of Golazo stated in a comment. "We were quick with Golazo to set up nice gravel events in our own country. About a year and a half ago, we went to the UCI with a proposal for an international Gravel Series, following the UCI Granfondo World Series that we have been organising for years. That first edition will take place in the very first Gravel World Cup in Veneto, Italy, in a few weeks' time. That we can now bring the World Cup to Flanders and thereby link top-class sport to our Flemish nature is a very nice opportunity."
Flemish Sports minister Ben Weyts was also enthusiastic. "It was quite an honour for us to be able to organise the 100th edition of the Cycling World Cup last year. With the gravel World Cup in 2024, we can now once again show our best side worldwide. During this World Cup, we are not only putting Flanders in the spotlight from an organisational point of view, but are also our green assets. We seize top sports events like this one with both hands to promote cycling even more in cycling-mad Flanders."
Gravel riders must qualify for the World Cup through events across five different continents throughout the year. What is unique about the cycling discipline is that amateur riders will compete with the world's top riders from different cycling disciplines. This year, for example, Peter Sagan and Zdenek Stybar, among others, are taking part in the Gravel World Series.
In the coming weeks, Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Golazo will meet, to discuss the course and possible start and finish locations.
© BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM