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How to watch the Gravel World Championships: everything you need to know

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Here’s everything you need to know to catch the action in Italy this weekend at the first-ever official Gravel World Championships.

For 12 years, the most important step in gravel cycling has been a secondary spectacle – with regard to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). But everything changed when the sport exploded and the international governing body decided to sanction it. The first Gravel World Series took place last year, and now the first world gravel championships are just around the corner.

Dust will fly from this Saturday October 8 to October 9 in Veneto, Italy. This is a significant change from Lincoln, Neb., where the previous de facto world championships (gravel worlds) were held.

As I write this on October 6, course verification is underway in Veneto.

Program

The actual race will begin at noon local time on Saturday. It’s the Women’s Elite (open category) race, and if you’re on the US East Coast, you’ll have to be up early to catch it. Noon in Italy is 6:00 a.m. EST. If you’re on the west coast, you might want to have an all-nighter on Friday.

Forty-eight “Elite” women will start on Saturday before 138 “Elite” men start Sunday at 11:00 a.m. local time. Riders of all age groups and qualifications start in closely spaced pelotons on both days, just minutes apart.

Here is the breakdown.

Saturday October 8

Midi Women Elite
12:15 Men 50+
12:20 p.m. Female age groups (7 groups between 19 and 64 years old)

16:00 Podium, Elite Women
18:00 Podium, age groups Men 50+ and Women

Sunday October 9

11:00 a.m. Elite Men
11:10 Men 19-34, Men 35-39
11:15 Men 40-44, Men 45-49

16:00 Podium, Elite Men
16:15 Podium, Male Age Groups

Full program here

Course details, notable runners

Every Gravel World Championship course should turn heads with historic scenery. Classes start at Vicenza UNESCO World Heritage Sitepass along Padua (with its 13th-century Byzantine cathedrals and other structures) and finish at Cittadella, a medieval walled town.

The Palladian Basilica in the city of Vicenza; (photo/Wiki Commons)

The women will run an 86.9 mile course with 2,296 feet of elevation gain. The men tackle a slightly more intensive course: 120.5 miles with 800 meters of elevation gain. The women’s course is 69% gravel and the men’s course is 36% unpaved, 18% hard gravel and 1% cobblestone.

Full course details here

Whether Italians in the North have the same enthusiasm for gravel riding as people in the Midwest remains to be seen. But many of the sport’s top athletes will appear: Pierre SaganNikki Terpstra, Greg van Avermaet, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Sina Frei and Sofia Villafañe Gomez will all race.

What they’ll be riding on could also be interesting – you can show up with anything but an e-bike.

Full list of runners here

How to watch the World Gravel Championships

Commentator Daniel Lloyd shared via social media that Eurosport and Google+ Network will broadcast the action.

If you’re in Denmark or Norway, you won’t be able to watch it via GCN+. And if you’re on Roku, the network might not be the best bet – Global Cycling Network said in February that it was “working on Roku” but couldn’t give an exact date.

But there is still hope. Lloyd also tweeted that you can watch the races on Discovery+. And the UCI will broadcast livestreams on its YouTube and Facebook channels.

And if you’re still not sure, check out ExpressVPN. The quickest way to describe it is that it’s like the keys to the internet. The service “undoes content restrictions and censorship to provide unlimited access” to most content from anywhere in the world on a wide range of devices. (It’s also pretty cheap: Plans start at $6.67 per month.)

Everything is ready ? Dip into the gravel and have a beer for breakfast on a Saturday morning – if you’re the type of person who needs excuses for doing things like that, this is a good idea. All podium ceremonies begin at 4 p.m. local time.

The first-ever UCI Gravel World Champions will wear the winner’s rainbow jerseys – instead of hoist the pirate’s sword.

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