UCI announces gravel World Championships, new cyclocross format and 'the development of snow bike'

Gravel cycling has gained huge popularity in the last few years with the UCI hoping to harness that for new races

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI have announced that they will be creating a World Series for gravel cycling in 2022, including a World Championship as the popularity of the discipline booms.

Cycling's governing body, UCI, decided in a meeting at the Road World Championships in Flanders, Belgium, that they would go into the world of gravel cycling in a joint organisation with Golazo, who organise many of the current events.

Races such as the Garmin Unbound race have been extremely popular in America with the gravel bug now making its way over to Europe too.

As part of its new changes in off-road disciplines, the UCI plans to introduce a cyclocross team relay during the 2022 World Championships in the USA, while plans are also underway for a UCI Snow Bike World Cup and World Championships in 2022-2023. 

>>> Eddy Merckx says that if Belgium have one leader for World Championships Evenepoel should not ride

Part of an off-road innovation initiative, the UCI discussed the new World Series: "A new discipline, gravel, will join the UCI Cycling for All International Calendar in 2022. From next year, the UCI will organise – in collaboration with events organiser Golazo – a UCI Gravel World Series consisting of events enabling athletes to qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships. 

"This discipline combines elements of road and mountain bike, and takes place mainly on unsealed roads (gravel, forest tracks, farm roads, cobbles, etc). Races in the UCI World Series will be mass participation events."

Multiple former and current professional road riders have already taken part in gravel events with retired pros Ian Boswell, Laurens Ten Dam and Peter Stetina taking on the likes of EF Education-Nippo duo, Alex Howes and Lachlan Morton.

As well as this, the UCI have put more focus into the off-road forms of cycling including the relatively new sport of Snow Bike as well as a new classification in the mountain bike short track World Cup races.

The UCI President, David Lappartient , said: "Cycling continues to innovate, this time in off-road with the creation of a very interesting new ranking for mountain bike cross-country short track, the recognition of gravel – an additional and rapidly expanding discipline – the launch of a new team format in cyclocross and the exploration of new avenues for the development of snow bike."

Snow bike is essentially an off-shoot of downhill mountain biking, with riders racing on snow-covered descents in the mountains. 

The UCI has not yet given a date for the confirmed calendar for the Gravel World Series and World Championships.

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.