Remco Evenepoel set to compete in his first gravel race

After losing time on the gravel during the 2021 Giro d'Italia, is Evenepoel looking to step up off road?

Remco Evenepoel Belgian Waffle Ride
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel will compete his first gravel event this off-season, as the off-road discipline continues to capture the imagination of pro riders.  

Evenpoel will race the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) in Kansas, a 111.11 mile gravel race, on Halloween later this month.

The Belgian's Deceuninck - Quick-Step teammate Mattia Cattaneo will also compete in the race on October 31, the fourth and final BWR of the year. California, North Carolina and Utah hosted the other three events, with this the first year Kansas features on the calendar.

Created as an extremely challenging race mirroring the iconic European one-day Spring Classics, BWR, as the name suggests, maintains a Belgian theme throughout the event. There are three distances on offer for the race, the longer Waffle event, the half-distance Wafer event, and the shorter Wanna event - Evenepoel and Cattaneo will compete in the Waffle event.

The route includes fast roads, loose gravel, rocky trails and is an extremely unique event in the United States. 

Race organisers announced via Instagram that the two European pros will compete in the event, stating: "Who’s ready to go trick or treating with these two legends in Kansas? Remco Evenepoel and Mattia Cattaneo will be joining us Halloween for the BWR Kansas."

While plenty of road racers have switched full-time to gravel racing in the past, Evenepoel has no intention of making the jump across surfaces in the long-term. 

After suffering a serious crash at the 2020 Il Lombardia, the 21-year-old didn't return to the professional circuit until the 2021 Giro d'Italia, his Grand Tour debut. Despite the lack of preparation he had for the season, Evenepoel still managed impressive performances, including a stage win at both the Danmark Rundt and Tour of Belgium, plus victories in the Brussels Cycling Classic and the Coppa Bernocchi.

The Belgian now has his sights set on the 2022 season and challenging Pogačar, Bernal and Roglič for their Grand Tour victories. 

Having lost time on the gravel stage during the 2021 Giro d'Italia on the Strade-Bianche-style course, could Evenepoel be hoping to improve his off-road riding for future events on the WorldTour calendar?