It looks like the UCI, cycling's governing body, is getting into gravel racing in a big way, with rumours of a 2020 Gravel Grand Fondo series swirling about. Following in the boots of the road Gran Fondo series, it's likely to have multiple rounds across the world, leading up to a World Championships.
Although we've reached out to the UCI's press office for a response and got nothing back as of yet, we have it on good authority that existing gravel race organisers have been approached to gauge their interest in being part of a new 'Gravel Fondo' series for 2020.
A road Gran Fondo is basically a combination of race and sportive, with anyone who's not a pro cyclist being able to take part, whether that's to just have a fun day out on the bike or mix it with the pointy elbows up the front.
The UCI's site says the concept is: "...focusing on both very competitive riders who either just miss the skills and talent to become a Pro Elite rider or who still want to compete at a high level at a later age, but also to fun riders who like to keep fit and finish the event."
From the qualifier events, the top 25% of riders in each age group are able to enter a World Championship event, with the winners being able to wear a much-coveted rainbow jersey.
It'll be interesting to see whether some of the big US events such as the Dirty Kansa decide to get involved - the road series essentially piggybacks onto existing events, so it'd make sense to do the same here. There's certainly enough decent gravel riding in the UK - Wales in particular - to support a round here, so fingers crossed.
We'll update this as we get more information but it'll be interesting to see which direction the UCI tries to steer it the format.
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