uci gravel world series
Gravel racing in Oregon; (photo/Baker County Tourism)

New UCI Gravel World Series: Tour Dates Include Unique US Stops

A leak in February excited the cycling community with rumblings of the inaugural International Cycling Union Gravel World Series. Now, the organization has officially announced the world tour.

The schedule for the first International Cycling Union (UCI) Gravel World Series is now set in stone. Gravel hounds can look forward to two U.S. stops on a tour that spans four continents.

The 12-stop tour will kick off in the Philippines on April 3. From there, it will continue (in no particular order) to two events each in the U.S. and Australia. One stop each in France, Poland, Holland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, and Spain complete the circuit.

Although word of the new series’ existence leaked back in February, there’s still plenty to get excited about. U.S. tour dates include the Ozarks’ Highlands Gravel Classic and the Jingle GX Gravel Race, which finishes at an Amish Oktoberfest celebration.

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Unique US Races

The Highlands Gravel Classic winds 70 miles through the Ozarks, with over a dozen climbs and a highpoint on a long, scenic ridgeline at 2,200 feet. Based in Fayetteville, Ark., it takes place on June 25.

The Jingle GX Gravel Race on Aug. 6 covers 69 miles of Iowa’s famously ample gravel — over 60% of the state’s roads are unsealed. The course mostly takes rolling hills, but the UCI says it hides sneaky steep grades.

And Oktoberfest will be in full swing at the finish line, inside the Festhalle Barn in the locally famous Amish community of Amana.


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Series Regulations

The new series’ concept is the same as the popular UCI Gran Fondo World Series, where riders can earn their spot for the annual UCI World Championships. At each round of the Gravel World Series, the top 25% of men and women from each age group will qualify for the Gravel World Championships. There, winners will claim World Championship crowns in each age group.

Unlike in the Gran Fondo, gravel riders may find themselves competing alongside professionals. The UCI Gravel World Series is open to both amateurs and pros.

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The UCI says it will keep equipment regulations loose for the first few years of the new Gravel World Series. For now, racers can compete on any type of bike without electrical assistance (gravel, cyclo-cross, mountain bike, road, etc.).

The organization says it will evaluate new regulations in upcoming seasons.

Gravel World Series Sponsored by Trek

Trek will be the Gravel World Series’ first title partner, from 2022 to 2024. The sport’s growing popularity figures to be a boon for the brand. Trek spoke to that via the UCI, saying it “believes that the gravel bike can provide a new experience for both competitive and leisure riders and is the perfect bike that can be used for different purposes.”

The Gravel World Series will have 2 US stops in 2022
(Photo/Torwai Studio, Shutterstock)

Belgian outdoor lifestyle company Golazo, which has coordinated the Gran Fondo World Series since 2011, will also manage the Gravel World Series.

“I am thrilled that we now have an exciting and rich calendar of gravel events for riders with an adventurous spirit who enjoy cycling on unsealed roads and paths,” UCI President David Lappartient said.

“The best among them will earn the right to compete in the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships, the details of which will be released soon. The UCI Gran Fondo World Series is incredibly popular, and I am convinced that this concept will be equally successful for the gravel format.”

Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.