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UCI gravel racing - coming soon

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UCI gravel racing - coming soon

Old 09-27-21, 01:05 PM
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UCI gravel racing - coming soon

The UCI has announced the creation of an officially sanctioned UCI gravel race series and a world championship. It will be interesting to see what kind of rulebook they cook up, and how the big US races (er... "events") react and change to this.

Once you start layering in UCI points and qualifying races for a potentially lucrative world championship event, the "no rules" grass roots nature of gravel racing starts to get a bit messy. There are some obvious things they will need to address through rules to ensure fair competition, but how far they take it remains to be seen.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:12 PM
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Good news for the folks who need UCI guidance to do anything on a bike...
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Old 09-27-21, 02:27 PM
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I figured this was only a matter of tome before it happened. Gravel was getting too big and UCI was getting pretty stagnant. Depending on what sort of restrictions they slather on the bikes, it could lead to a reduced variety of bikes available...
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Old 09-27-21, 02:28 PM
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Yeah, I read a handful of articles over the weekend about this and am waiting to hear more before I fully decide I dislike it.

- The UCI has said they plan to be inclusive and support bringing more to the sport. Lets see what that means.
- If professional racing on a large stage comes to the US, that would actually be cool. And if its gravel, all the better. This country is pretty devoid of large scale UCI competition.
- I would be frustrated if I were Lifetime Fitness or that one guy in Stillwater OK because the obvious target of the UCI will be the large gravel races that are currently taking place, and they have grown in part recently because of pro cyclist participation.
- I doubt the mid-size and smaller races will be affected. The race I have this Saturday, the Buffalo105, has a bunch of locals each year and why would that change? Any local or regional races dont draw pro races as it is, so they can continue to do what they like and organize how they think is best.
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Old 09-27-21, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Yeah, I read a handful of articles over the weekend about this and am waiting to hear more before I fully decide I dislike it.

- The UCI has said they plan to be inclusive and support bringing more to the sport. Lets see what that means.
- If professional racing on a large stage comes to the US, that would actually be cool. And if its gravel, all the better. This country is pretty devoid of large scale UCI competition.
- I would be frustrated if I were Lifetime Fitness or that one guy in Stillwater OK because the obvious target of the UCI will be the large gravel races that are currently taking place, and they have grown in part recently because of pro cyclist participation.
- I doubt the mid-size and smaller races will be affected. The race I have this Saturday, the Buffalo105, has a bunch of locals each year and why would that change? Any local or regional races dont draw pro races as it is, so they can continue to do what they like and organize how they think is best.
Agree that this won't change anything on a local level. There are still many CX, Road and MTB races that happen all the time that have no UCI involvement, and local gravel racing will likely be the same.

The bigger races that attract pro (or recently retired) riders are going to be affected though. I see that SBT GRVL already declared their UCI independence, but if all the top racers suddenly have to focus on UCI qualifying events, that may not leave room in their race calendars for non-UCI races. Maybe SBT and other big races like Unbound don't care about that and choose to stay focused on local/amateur thing, but it's hard to ignore how much these events benefit from attracting top level talent.
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Old 09-27-21, 06:54 PM
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I suspect you are right that it will not affect the local and regional races, but I wonder if they regulate bikes, aerodynamics, tires, etc. if it could lead to less diversity in the bike choices available. It would be a big plus if it did lead to more UCI events in the US though, that would be good.
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Old 09-28-21, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee
I suspect you are right that it will not affect the local and regional races, but I wonder if they regulate bikes, aerodynamics, tires, etc. if it could lead to less diversity in the bike choices available. It would be a big plus if it did lead to more UCI events in the US though, that would be good.
The comparison I can think of here is CX race tires. Almost all new race-focused CX tires hitting the market are 33mm (UCI legal), even though most CX races in the US are not bound by UCI rules on tire width. As a result, most people showing up to local races are running 33mm tires.

It was only in the last few years that people started showing up with gravel bikes and wider tires. Before that, we were limited to whatever you could buy in the MTB realm.
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