Gorilla Gravel in Rwanda on the famous 1000 hills

UCI Gravel World Series

The first UCI Gravel race Rwanda announces to be an exciting event in which riders can evaluate a part of the 2025 UCI Road World Championships course starting in Kigali.

The organizer is Belgian who loves the country and shows the beauty of it all in this first UCI gravel race in the country. Time to explore the course together with Simon De Schutter who has already a lot of experience with mountain bike events in Rwanda.

Simon, as we look at the map and plan, it seems like a hard race: 108km with 2685m of elevation?

Simon: Yes, you can consider this a hard race. On the map, the roads seem to be more than half paved, but those so called “paved” roads are district roads who are in reality also well-maintained gravel roads. I think that apart from the first 10km leaving the city, the course is for 99% on gravel.”

Those first 10km are in Kigali where the 2025 road World Championships take place for the first time on African soil?

Simon: Yes, a great moment for African cycling and especially Rwanda. We recently decided to also adapt our course so that it follows the track of road worlds next year. A great opportunity to check out the course in the country that is known for its 1000 hills.”

Once you leave the capital city, we are in the countryside which is I presume very different from Kigali?

Simon: “Kigali is a very modern city where you have all facilities, great asphalt, and the fastest internet in the world. Outside people will for sure encourage the riders in a very disciplined way, but in those remote areas, it will be less crowded with small villages and gravel roads going from one hill to the next one. Rwanda is really a super beautiful country and one of the safest in Africa. And even on the countryside, the 4G network is great.”

Are the gravel roads well maintained?

Simon: “They are totally different than the gravel races you see in Europe as we are racing on the wide-open roads which are used for normal traffic. After the rain season, which is April and May, it might be that certain parts needs maintenance so I would suggest wide tyres to cope with the washboard effect we often see in that period of the year.”

What can we expect from temperatures?

Simon: “The start will be at 8am in the morning when you can expect a temperature around 23 degrees. Some riders will be finished before it gets really hot at 1pm, but some slower riders will still be on course with temperatures going over 30 Celsius in the afternoon.”

Even on the high altitude as the finish is at 2200m?

Simon: “yes, even there and the finish will be challenging as the last section going up from the town of Base will be 3.5km on real asphalt, followed by a steep last 4.5km to the finish on hard gravel.”

Which riders are already confirmed?

Simon: “We have British Maddy Nutt confirmed, but also Belgian cycling TV-host Ruben van Gucht and his co-commentator Ine Beyen will take part. The numbers are growing steadily, and we hope to have a great peloton at the start in which we will also see a lot of local talents.”

Share this article