Bolero 2023 European Gravel Championships
Distances56 - 103 - 131 - 159 km
The new UCI Gravel World Series event features as first UEC European Gravel Championships and first Belgian gravel Championships on big parts of the courses that will be used during the 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships in the forest region south-east of the capital city.
The course will feature two local laps of 28km in and around the town of Oud-Heverlee and the Meerdalwoud, a big forest area just south of the city of Leuven. After two local laps, rider will enter a big loop of 47.5km towards Brussels which features big parts of the 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships courses to come back to the local lap which needs to be done twice for men elite, one time for women elite men age groups 19-54 and with a direct finish for women age groups and men 55+.
- Men elites: 2 local laps + big loop + 2 local laps: 159km (1460m+)
- Women elites: 2 local laps + big loop + 1 local lap: 131km (1200m+)
- Men 19-49: 2 local laps + big loop + 1 local lap: 131km (1200m+)
- Women 19-54: 2 local laps + big loop: 103km (940m+)
- Men 50-64: 2 local laps + big loop: 103km (940m+)
- Women 55+: 2 local laps: 56km (520m+)
- Men 65+: 2 local laps: 56km (520m+)
The courses will be communicated one week before the event.
The profile and total altitude of the different races depends on the distance and categories, but the races are on undulating terrain without ever being very steep nor have long climbs. Total elevation of the local lap is 260m while the big loop has 420m of elevation. The longest climb of the day is not really a climb but an upgoing forest road towards the turning point on the long loop where the road goes up during 3.5km for 2-3%.
The Brabantse Wouden region is a big forest region southeast of Brussels with a few famous woods like the Zonienwoud, Meerdalwoud and Hallerbos. All these woods have been submitted to be recognised as “national park” and will feature during the 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships with start in Halle and finish in Leuven.
The European Championships and the Belgian National Championships will be ridden on a part of that course with mainly the local loop in the Meerdalwoud being three quarter of the final loop of the World Championships. Also big parts of the big loop will feature in the World Championships next year, partly in reverse direction.
More than 10,000 hectares of valuable nature
Between the Hallerbos, the Sonian Forest and the Meerdaal Forest you will find robust forests, winding rivers and a spectacular vast agricultural plateau with deep sunken roads. Together they account for more than 10,000 hectares of valuable nature. They are just signed up as a candidate to become a National Park. This park is embedded in a beautiful and unique landscape ‘Brabantse Wouden’ that is 33,000 hectares in size.
These unique forests and the beautiful agricultural plateau with sunken roads will be on display during the UCI Gravel World Championships 2024 with start in Halle and finish in Leuven. The European Championships and the BK are held on part of that course. First of all, the local loop in the Meerdaalwoud is three-quarters of the final loop of the World Cup. Large parts of the big loop will also feature in the World Championships next year, partly in the opposite direction.
Welcome to the Brabantse Bossen, majestic National Park (in formation) !