Coming weekend, Millau and the Grands Causses natural park provide a scenic background for the only French qualifier in the Trek UCI Gravel World Series. Wish One Millau Grands Causses was the first UCI gravel event on European soil in 2022 and is now back for its second edition.
The area has a rich cultural heritage and offers stunning views and diverse landscapes to discover. Add high-quality gravel tracks to this mix and you’ll understand that this is an ideal playground for gravel riders. A playground full of challenges that participants to the race have to overcome if they seek to qualify for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships in Italy.
Men 19-59 and women 19-49 will ride a 146 km course with 2.200 meters of elevation in their pursuit of a qualification.
The 101 km race is the official qualifier for women 50+ and men 60+ and contains 1.600 meters of climbing.
Both courses start and finish in Millau. The finish line lies under the famous Millau Viaduct over the Tarn river, the tallest bridge in the world with its height of 336,4 meters.
After the start, riders have to tackle a long and steep climb out of the valley. Another hard climb awaits between kilometers 30 and 40. And with technical sections throughout the course, there is little time to rest. The route also passes through a military zone that is normally off-limits, but will be open exclusively for the event. The 101 km race takes some shortcuts, but both races have the same final section, with a paved 2 km climb to the finish.
Strong efforts from a diverse field
A challenging course like this will quickly split the field and rewards strong efforts. Last year, Tessa Neefjes (NLD) and Niki Terpstra (NLD) won a few minutes ahead of their opponents, while there were also significant gaps between the following riders. Will we see similar results this year, or will a strong group fight for the win in a long uphill sprint?
600 riders from 20 countries all over the world will be taking part. With famous pro road and gravel riders at the start, such as Jens Debusschere, Laurent Brochard, Adam Blazevic, Piotr Havik, Byron Munton, Arnaud Jouffroy, Svenja Betz, Puck Moonen, Carolin Schiff, Emma Ortiz Bonilla, Emma Porter, Jade Treffeisen and many others, we will definitely get a day of intense racing. Speaking of racing: 4 times F1 World Champion Alain Prost will also be participating – and not in an F1 car.