Veneto hosts season finales for Gravel and road.
The UCI Gravel World Championships, sponsored by Campagnolo, and Giro del Veneto will provide memorable race action as 2022 draws to a close.
October sees the end of both gravel and road seasons with two of the biggest events of the season in the form of the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships and second edition of the reborn Giro del Veneto, both held in the stunning Veneto region in north-east Italy. The home of epic landscapes, challenging conditions and hard riding.
UCI GRAVEL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Over the weekend of 8th and 9th October, the Gravel Worlds will take place on the white gravel roads of Veneto.
The routes begin in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vicenza, flirting with the historic city of Padua before finishing at the mediaeval-walled city of Cittadella, around 25km north of Vicenza.
This is the home of Campagnolo, whose gravel-specific gear has changed the face of gravel forever.
Campagnolo delivers the lightest gravel groupset and the most reliable wheels.
Add in the historic nature of the event and you can see why Campagnolo’s thrown its considerable weight behind the championships.
The courses feature over 50% of cobbled and white gravel sections – many used in Strade Bianche, won this year by Tadej Pogacar who dreams bigger and races faster with Campagnolo Super Record EPS and Bora Ultra WTO wheels – with the rest comprising asphalt.
They were designed by former Italian professional road cyclists Marco Menin and Angelo Furlan. Cycling historians may well remember Furlan who won two stages of the Vuelta a España back in 2002.
The action kicks off on Saturday 8th October with the elite women’s, women’s age-group and men’s 50-plus categories. They’ll all race over the same 140km parcours, of which 69% composes gravel. There’s around 700m elevation gain to contend with, too..
Come Sunday 9th October, the spotlight shines bright on the elite men and men’s under-49 age groups. Again, they’ll follow the same parcours but the elite men will endure an extra 25km final circuit for a total of 190km, 73% gravel and 800m of altitude gain.
The men’s under-49 age group face 165km and 750m of altitude gain.
It’ll be interesting to see how the respective races pan out, but you can expect a fast start as the first 20km is tough gravel including a steep 1km uphill.
This could splinter the peloton as riders fight for position. From there, it’s rolling for a while before levelling out.
The finish is technical with the last kilometre consisting of gravel before a road sprint of around 200m into the city centre.
Campagnolo riders confirmed to line up are Greg van Avermaet, Lilian Calmejane, Lawrence Naesen and Australian Nathan Haas, who’ll be maximising his Campagnolo 13-speed Ekar gravel groupset and new Campagnolo Levante wheels.
We caught up with Haas recently (read more here) and he hinted at his ambitions for the UCI Gravel World Championships.
“It’d be great to do something special there,” he said. “I hope people come along and watch as it’ll be fantastic.”
GIRO DEL VENETO
Just three days after the UCI Gravel World Championships is arguably the last major event of the 2022 road season – the Giro del Veneto (13th October) – which returned last year after not having been staged since 2012.
The race’s tag line is ‘Ride the Dreamland’ and has sentiments of Campagnolo’s own ‘Dream Bigger’ ethos.
The organisers say this is the place that dreams come true, and they certainly stand a chance if the riders are using Campagnolo Super Record EPS and Bora wheels like many of the professionals at this season-ender will be using, including Team UAE Emirates’ Davide Formolo, who lines up for the second year in a row.
In 2021, the 29-year-old Italian helped team-mate Matteo Trentin to second behind Belgium’s Xandro Meurisse.
Can Campagnolo-using UAE Team Emirates go one better this year? If they do, they’ll have to overcome a parcours that’ll test the resilience and durability of the world’s best cyclists, for whom many started their season all the way back in January.
In 2021, the Giro del Veneto finished in Padova. This year it will host the departure.
From Padova, the 160km race weaves its way to the Euganean Hills, which are volcanic in origin.
Thankfully, they’re long since extinct! From here it’s up to the Berici Hills and onwards to Arcugnano, where they’ll pass the famous Villa la Rotonda, designed by Italia Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The riders will have little time to absorb this magnificent villa as they face the final 22km circuit that they’ll cover three times.
This circuit rolls deep into the heart of Vicenza, including the Corso Palladio, before returning to the west of Berici until the end of the circuit along the straight road Via Rome.
Will it be a sprint finish like 2021?
There’s around 1,600m of climbing to contend with so there’s chance of a breakaway but the odds are that the race season will reach its finale with a sprint to the line.