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‘Everyone is taking it seriously…it’s a rainbow jersey’

'Everyone is taking it seriously...it's a rainbow jersey'

The inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships are taking place in Veneto, Italy, this weekend, and for the past month, the internet at large has been…

Friday, Oct 07

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The inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships are taking place in Veneto, Italy, this weekend, and for the past month, the internet at large has been criticising and scoffing at the UCI’s entry —or mingling in— gravel racing.

Among the star-studded cast of racers , however, the fight for first-time honors are a serious business.

“The top women’s racers in the world are here. And it’s the same on the men’s side,” reports American Lauren Stephens (EF Education TIBCO- SVB).

By competing on Saturday, Stephens, a former U.S. national road race champion and Unbound 100 winner, is tackling her third back-to-back world championships following the road and marathon mountain bike world championships this past month.

“There’s definitely some serious competition and I think every rider that signed up for this is taking it seriously; I mean, it’s a rainbow jersey. And I’m going to be fighting for it till the finish.” Room to grow

The UCI’s first foray into gravel events has been a two-pronged approach consisting of a 12-event UCI Gravel World Series and the inaugural World Championships, contested by both professional bike racers and amateurs at the same time.

The UCI doesn’t expect overnight success but the interest of well-known racers has certainly been encouraging.“It’s a first time event, so I think people don’t know what to make of it. But that’s what makes it exciting also,” Stephens says.“There is a group of gravel riders that don’t want the UCI involved [in gravel] and to have all these rules. But in my opinion, […]

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