2024 UCI Gravel World Championships to be held in Flanders

2024 UCI Gravel Championship course will meander from Halle to Leuven through National Park Forests of Brabant

2024 UCI Gravel World Championships to be held in Flanders

On Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October, the UCI Gravel World Championships will come to Flanders, Belgium, for the first time. The course, which is almost entirely on Flemish Brabant soil, starts in Halle and finishes in Leuven after a beautiful passage through the Forests of Brabant National Park. In addition to the official UCI World Championship races, there will also be a recreational gravel ride for the general public during the same weekend. Sustainability and experience are key concepts in the organisation of the 2024 Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships.

After the first two editions in Italy’s Veneto region, Flanders will have the honour of hosting the third edition of the UCI Gravel World Championships on the first weekend of October. The Women Elite will compete for the rainbow jersey over a 133km course on Saturday 5 October. They will be followed on Sunday 6 October by the Men Elite, who will race over a 179km course. On both days, there will also be races for riders competing for the UCI world title in their respective age categories.

All races will start in Halle and finish in Leuven, which also hosted the finish of the road races at the centenary edition of the 2021 UCI Road World Championships in Flanders three years ago. Depending on the category, riders will conclude their ride with one or two more local laps in Leuven.

The course has parallels with the European & Belgian Gravel Championships that also took place in the province of Flemish Brabant last year, with Oud-Heverlee at its epicentre. As with the European & Belgian Championships, the upcoming 2024 Bolero UCI World Championships will feature a passage through the Forests of Brabant. This area is a true paradise for those who love gravel roads, monumental trees and tough climbs on roads that cut deep into the landscape. The Forests of Brabant have been officially recognised as a National Park since 2023.

Sustainability and Experience

Christophe Impens, Head of Cycling at organisers Golazo, states: “In order to optimally protect nature’s value, we are working intensively with the Agentschap Natuur & Bos and the other core partners of the Forests of Brabant, and we are elaborating an extensive Sustainability Plan, report, and Charter. A key element in the Sustainability Plan is mobility. Halle and Leuven both offer the ideal infrastructure to enable people to come and enjoy the Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships by public transport. Both the start and finish are within walking distance of a train station and there is also a direct connection between the two host cities.

“There will also be a official fan zones in Halle and Leuven on 5 and 6 October,” Impens reveals. “Gravel fans will be able to watch the action live on big screens and witness several passages. Furthermore, there will be a Gravel Expo offering the latest gravel products and bikes in the middle of the fan zone in Leuven. Several viewing areas will also be set up along the course, in cooperation with the various municipalities involved. The aim is to centralise spectators as much as possible in the best spots for watching the riders, while minimising the burden on the Forests of Brabant.”

Those who already want to set off on their own gravel bikes or mountain bikes can download a free tourist/explorer’s version of the 2024 UCI World Championships course (GPX file) . This is a 97% copy of the official course, but does not include private domains, one-way streets or sensitive nature areas. During the course reconnaissance or when gravel riding in other natural areas, courtesy should be paramount for everyone: leave nothing behind, stay on the right paths, adjust speed, allow everyone to enjoy the environment.

UCI Gravel World Championships Qualifier

UCI Gravel World Championships Qualifier

The 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships crowned Poland's Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Slovenia's Matej Mohoric as well as 19 winners of the different men’s and women’s age categories.

To be in with a chance this year riders worldwide can qualify for the 2024 UCI Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships by excelling in their National Championships (for example the Belgian Gravel Championships in Turnhout on 1 st May), at their Continental Championships or at one of the 25+ events that make up the Trek UCI Gravel World Series.

The Houffa Gravel, on Sunday 24 August in Houffalize, is the only remaining qualifying race in Belgium, while last October's European and Belgian Championships in Oud-Heverlee also counted as a qualifier. Entries for Houffalize will open soon. Riders finishing in the first 25% in their age category in one of the events of the Trek UCI Gravel World Series will qualify for the UCI World Championships in Halle and Leuven.

Recreational Gravel Tour

Those who fail to qualify for the Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships or who do not have competitive ambitions, but would still like to soak up the atmosphere on their bikes, can take part in the Recreational Gravel Tour on Sunday 6 October. This purely fun ride will take place before the Men Elite start their race, and enable anyone to ride the official loop in Leuven. Young or old, avid gravel rider or new to gravel biking, everyone is welcome! Afterwards, you can share your own sporting achievements in the fan zone and support the riders competing for the rainbow jersey.

“Strengthening Flanders’ image Abroad”

“We are bringing another international sports event to Flanders with the 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships,” says Flemish Minister of Sport. “Flanders is the cradle of cycling, and these top sports events help us to strengthen Flanders' image abroad. In addition, we inspire the people of Flanders to exercise more, because watching sport makes you want to do it yourself.”

Flemish Minister of Tourism and Environment: “Sport and nature are allies, and they go hand in hand here in Flanders too. There is no better way of putting the spotlight on our beautiful nature and celebrating our primal Flemish cycling heritage than with these Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships. People from all over the world will get to know our love for cycling, our beautiful nature in the Forests of Brabant National Park ... and of course our beer culture. The organisation, EventFlanders and the Agentschap Natuur & Bos deserve an extra compliment for the care they are taking of our nature during the event. That way, athletes and nature lovers can continue to enjoy this wonderful environment in the future.”

Enthusiastic Host Cities and Province

“The 2024 Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships are a unique opportunity to promote Halle as a welcoming and active city. This is the perfect base for challenging gravel rides in a beautiful landscape. In our cosy town centre, you can enjoy a fresh gueuze or tasty snack afterwards,” says Councillor for Sport Pieter Busselot. “In the run-up to the UCI World Championships, we are organising various activities to put the spotlight on our gravel city. During the Outdoor Play Day, we are launching a family-friendly gravel route. That way everyone gets a taste of this fun sport.”

“The 2024 Bolero UCI Gravel World Championships on this beautiful course, with a tough finish in Leuven, will put gravel even more firmly on the map as a spectacular and accessible cycling discipline in early October. As a sports city, we will particularly focus on the latter,” says Leuven's Councillor for Sport Johan Geleyns. “We want as many people as possible to experience gravel: by offering the opportunity to ride the course themselves, before or during the weekend, to come and watch or to come and support in the fan zone. Let it be a pleasant introduction to an exciting sport for as many people as possible.”

“Flemish Brabant is the gravel Walhalla of Flanders. We proved that last year during the European & Belgian Gravel Championships. There are epic climbs and breath-taking descents, cobblestones that make you shudder and narrow country lanes ideal for a quick sprint. You can relive the excitement in authentic cycling cafés and plenty of cycle-friendly accommodation. Our province deserves the UCI Gravel World Championships,” says Gunther Coppens, Deputy for Tourism of Flemish Brabant. “Toerisme Vlaams-Brabant is going all in for gravel and has already mapped out six gravel routes a cross the entire province. There is something for everyone to get their teeth into.”

For more information, please visit: www.gravelchampionshipsflanders.com

 

 
Tag: 2024-uci-gravel-world-championships
 
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