For those that always wanted to race along Canada’s impressive forest roads: we have just the event for you in the UCI Gravel World Series. The Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo is a new race brought to you by the organizing team behind the Blue Mountains UCI Gran Fondo (2015-19), including Bruce Bird, multiple UCI Gran Fondo World Champion.
They are working together with the organizers of the famous Paris to Ancaster gravel event, which this year doubled as the first Canadian National Gravel Championships. As such, riders can be confident that an experienced team has done everything to guarantee a beautiful and safe day out on the gravel bike.
In the Blue Mountains – a majestic region famous for skiing, hiking and biking –, participants take on a 42-kilometer course consisting of wide and straight sections on a rolling terrain with punchy climbs. Male riders in the 19-59 age group and women aged 19-49 have to complete three laps for a total of 126 kilometers and 1.500 meters of elevation. Meanwhile, men 60+ and women 50+ will ride two laps, adding up to 84 kilometers and 1.000 meters of climbing. Their goal? Earning their spot in the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships, taking place this October in Italy.
A strong field
The field of 300 participants from 8 countries features very strong contestants. Devon Clarke will likely be sporting her Canadian national gravel champion jersey. Other Canadian pros include Joseph Lupien and Andrew L’Esperance. International riders include Ella Bloor (AUS), Joe Laverick (GBR), Anna Kollman-Suhr (AUT), Tessa Neefjes (NLD), who is the Dutch MTB marathon and European MTB beach racing champion. With Brayan Chaves (COL), there’s also a former World Tour road cyclist lining up.
The course will definitely make for an interesting race. Strong riders could create a gap on the long and windy sections, while punchers or climbers may place their attack on one of the longer hills. Will we see another solo win with big time gaps between finishers, or will a group make it to the finish to sprint for victory?