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Organisers reveal Flemish Brabant route for 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships

The overall routes in Belgium for the 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships were revealed by organisers, Golazo, on Tuesday, with elite women covering 133km on hilly terrain across the province of Flemish Brabant on Saturday, October 5. The following day, the elite men’s category will race 179km on the same route, with additional passes on a Leuven circuit.

Halle will host the start for all elite races and age-specific divisions. The routes follow a short 10km loop to the northwest and then traverse 80km for a first pass through the finish area at Leuven. 

Circuits will take in the Forests of Brabant, one of four national parks in the country. Depending on the category, riders will conclude with one or two more local laps in Leuven.

A general route map has been provided by organisers with estimates that gravel, cobblestones and unpaved surfaces comprise approximately 61% of the path. Details about climbs, private domains and sensitive nature areas will be disclosed at a later date.

Last year’s battles for rainbow stripes crowned Kasia Niewiadoma (Poland) as the elite women’s champion after 140km of racing and Matej Mohorič (Slovenia) as the elite men’s champion on a 169km course. 

“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,” organisers noted in a press release.

In addition to spectator viewing in Halle and Leuven, official fan zones will be set up along the route, some locations providing live-action video on giant screens.

“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. “There will be a Gravel Expo offering the latest gravel products and bikes in the middle of the fan zone in Leuven,” said Christophe Impens head of cycling at Golazo. 

Much of the route was used last year for the inaugural UEC European Gravel Championships and Belgian Gravel Championships, and the region also hosted the 2021 UCI Road World Championships. The passage from west to east through the Forests of Brabant should be the same. Golazo will work with local agencies and partners to “optimally protect nature’s value” to support sustainability initiatives.

“We are elaborating an extensive Sustainability Plan. 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,” said Impens.

Qualification for the third edition of the UCI Gravel World Championships continue with national champions, continental championships, national team selections as well as top 25% in categories from one of the 25 events that make up the Trek UCI Gravel World Series.

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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