Last year's Houffa race started with a disco countdown outside the Mayor's office

TREK UCI Gravel World Series 2024 Calendar

Seven new events have been added to the TREK UCI Gravel World Series, bringing the total to 25 races.

The TREK UCI Gravel World Series is growing. More people are wanting to race and organisers are fulfilling that need. While some may bemoan the presence of the UCI and professional roadies entering the scene, I’m loving it! The chance to race against the best riders – even if only for the briefest moment – is bringing many riders to these events.

It’s not only the chance to see your heroes, you also get to ride on the same course and see how you compare against them. Generally it’s humbling, but also awe inspiring to see how much quicker these athletes are compared to us mortals! While you won’t be racing against these riders, age-related racing gives you a chance to race your peers. The sixteen events that took place in 2023 showed how popular gravel racing has become, many events attracted more than 1000 riders.

For 2024 the TREK UCI Gravel World Series will consist of 24 races which will take place all over the globe. The series will culminate with the World Championships in Belgium. The seven new races that have been added to the series are also spread all over the world.

The new events

Austria will host the first new event on the calendar the Worthersee Gravel in early April 2024. This will take place in the southern city of Velden am Wörthersee. This is the home of reigning M40 UCI Gravel World Champion and former pro rider, Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland. Johnny will host a race on his post-retirement training routes in the Wörthersee Gravel.

Giro Sardegna Gravel is a new event that will take place during the Giro della Sardegna week of cycling on the island in the last week of April. The course is designed in the beautiful area surrounding Orosei. The course will consist of two or three laps of a circuit, with a twelve kilometre road lead-in.

A new African gravel race

The UCI is also happy to announce a new African event in Naivasha, Kenya. The Safari Gravel Race is part of the LOOP Safari Gravel Race series and is set in Hell’s Gate National Park (Naivasha). This area was made famous by the Lion King and offers the opportunity to ride in one of the most picturesque landscapes in Kenya. 

The southern city of Singen in Germany hosted the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in 2017 and will now add the Hegau Gravel Festival to their rich history of off-road cycling events on the last weekend of June.

Alpine gravel

Switzerland will also have a new UCI Gravel race the Gravel Suisse. This will be combined with the Gran Fondo Suisse on the same weekend in early July in Villars-sur-Ollon on the doorstep of the UCI headquarters with quite some climbing in the heart of the Vaud Alps.

On the same day, there will also be a second UK event in Wales, in the city of Ruthin, on a course designed in the Clocaenog Forest in Llyn Brenig under the name “Brwydr y Graean”, Welsh for “battle on the gravel”.

The Sea Otter Europe in Girona on the Spanish-French border will take place on the 21st September. This will be the last race in which to qualify for the World Championship final in Belgium. The race is part of a big bike festival weekend with expo and different cycling disciplines.

New regulations for 2024

The 2024 season also sees some new regulations such as a minimum lap distance of 40km for local lap races. There will also now be an Elite category that will be introduced for the qualifier events. Riders now must choose prior to the race if they want to qualify for the Elite category or their respective age category.

The 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships will be held over the 5-6 October, Races will start in Halle and finish in Leuven, host town of the 2021 UCI Road World Championships. The course will take in the Forests of Brabant National Park. Riders can expect a mix of forest and farming roads, cobbles and asphalt. Climbs are never very long nor steep, but you’ll start to feel it by the end of the race.

Qualification for the 2024 UCI World Championships have already begun, with two events raced last month. The first of these was the UEC European Championships in Oud-Heverlee, Belgium. This featured sections that will be included in the 2024 UCI Worlds in Halle-Leuven, making it a good test. Four weeks later, Gravelista was raced on the other side of the world, in Beechworth, Australia.

I’m riding the TREK UCI Gravel World Series!

I’ll be riding three or four of these events next year, health and family permitting! First off will be my second running of the Gravel Fondo Limburg. Last year I suffered like a dog over the three laps of this lumpy course, here’s hoping 2024 will be better. Then it’s off to the Gralloch, again my second time. This beautiful single loop through Scotland was awesome and saw me finally succumb to pneumonia!

The Houffa was my first UCI Gravel race
The Houffa was my first UCI Gravel race

Next is the Brwydr y Graean in Wales, this is a new race in a part of the world I’ve never ridden. Part of the enjoyment of these events is getting to ride in new areas, so Wales, here I come! Then my last chance to qualify for the final is the Houffa. I’ve got good memories of this race as I managed to finish 7th! For more information about the UCI Gravel World Championships qualifier series, click here.

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