Fayetteville to help represent USA as host of UCI Gravel World Series race
The Highlands Gravel Classic will represent USA on Saturday June 25th one of two races in the United States in 2022
The Union Cycliste Internationale on Friday announced the races and dates of its new Gravel World Series, which includes 12 events in 10 countries across the world. The races will serve as qualifiers for a UCI Gravel World Championship event at a soon-to-be announced location.
The series begins in April in the Philippines, and then travels to Australia, France and Poland before heading to the United States for races in Fayetteville and Iowa. After that, races are planned in Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Australia, The Netherlands and Spain.
The Fayetteville event, called the Highlands Gravel Classic, is organized by All Sports Productions, the same team behind the Joe Martin Stage Race, the Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder and the RAPTOR Gravel Grinder. It’s set for Saturday, June 25 and include two courses, both of which feature 95% gravel roads. The long course will serve as a World Championships qualifier for younger riders and the shorter course is a qualifier for the older age categories.
“We are proud to partner with the national and international governing bodies of the sport of cycling and are extremely honored to be part of the inaugural UCI Gravel World Series and awarded the first U.S. qualifier.” said race director Bruce Dunn. “The world has been coming to Fayetteville for many years to compete in elite-level road racing. With the Highlands Gravel Classic, now we will see competitors from across the country and around the globe coming to ride and compete on the scenic gravel of the Ozark Mountains.”
The racers will begin from a private farm east of town, and the courses will include canopy-covered gravel roads where riders can expect continuously changing terrain through the rural backcountry of the Ozarks. The 70-mile course includes over a dozen climbs, with the longest stretching 2.9 miles. The 52-mile course uses much of the same roads as the longer course, but includes a cut-through after 24 miles to head back for the finish line.
Registration for the Fayetteville race opens at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 26, according to the event website. Fees are $70 for the short course and $80 for the long course.
The plans for the series have been based on the existing and very successful UCI Gran Fondo World Series where riders can earn their spot for a yearly World Championship. In the new UCI Gravel World Series, the top 25% per age group and gender qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships where the new world champions will be crowned with the coveted rainbow jersey in the different UCI age categories.
The UCI has chosen to not make the regulations too strict in the first years allowing any bike at the start (gravel bike, cyclo-cross bike, mountain bike, road bike…) to further evaluate in the upcoming years.
2022 Trek UCI Gravel World Series
April 3 – UCI Gravel Philippines, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija (Phl)
May 15 – Seven, Nannup (Aus)
June 5 – Wish One Gravel Race, Millau (Fra)
June 18 – Gravel Adventure, Swieradow-Zdroj (Pol)
June 25 – Highlands Gravel Classic, Fayetteville (USA)
Aug. 6 – Jingle GX Gravel Race, Amana (USA)
Aug. 20 – Gravel Grit n Grind, Halmstad (Swe)
Aug. 27 – Houffa Gravel, Houffalize (Bel)
Sept. 3 – La Monsterrato-Strade Bianche Monferrato, Quattordio (Ita)
Sept. 4 – Gravelista, Beechworth (Aus)
Sept. 17 – Gravel One Fifty, Veenhuizen (Ned)
Sept. 18 – Ranxo, Ponts (Spa)