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Bucket List Gravel Events

David Lappartient, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), stated that gravel "is part of the history of cycling". Let there be no room for any doubt, as history speaks quite clearly. Back in the day the first champions of the 1900s, Coppi and Bartali, were the true heroes of cycling, and they were already gravel. In their own way.
More than a hundred years have passed and now this part of history is intertwined with the present and technology. Gravel events are above all about competition, but there is always room for fun. There is time and space for everyone. From the Sunday rider right up to the pro rider coming off the back of a Tour de France. This is the true beauty of gravel racing.


In recent years, various formats have developed. Alongside the one-day events, the randonnée, which is simply a long bike ride, usually over 100 miles but sometimes much longer has become popular. In common cycling terms, the randonnée typically refers to a non-competitive, long-distance ride that's timed for safety, with several controls (or stops) along the route to keep the riders honest. Amongst randonneurs, this kind of event is also known as a brevet.
It is sometimes difficult to choose in these cases. The following is a selection of Italian and non-Italian events that have contributed and continue to contribute to the growth of the gravel movement.


1 - Unbound Gravel
In 2006 there were 34 riders that showed up at the start line. This event was called the Dirty Kanza. Gravel was re-born at Flint Hills, Kansas, United States of America. The Unbound Gravel is the most desired event by fans of the gravel movement which has undergone a massive evolution and growth to become a real festival with over four thousand participants. In addition to a traditional 200-mile course, there is the possibility to take part in the 100-mile race with 50 and 25-mile courses dedicated to those who do not wish to affront the long distances. In addition to these routes there is the XL alternative, which is a mere 350 miles and even there is even the possibility for the kids to experience the Unbound Gravel atmosphere with a Junior event which offers, unlike all the other routes, assistance and aid along the route. However be forewarned, all the races have a closed number of places and they are decided by the drawing of lots.

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2 - Novo Eroica Prosecco Hills
The first edition took place on the 1st May 2022. 1,200 participants from over 20 different nations gathered at the Borgoluce estate in Susegana in Treviso to ride around the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, a UNESCO heritage site. The essence of the event is contained in three simple words: race, ride, relax. The competition of various timed sections leaves room for the pure pleasure of riding when the segments valid for the final classification come to an end. The rest is done by a unique landscape in the world full of stories related to cycling "watered" by Prosecco and local gastronomy. There are three routes: "Via dei castelli" (50 km) between Susegana and Collagù, "Via dei vigni heroici" (93 km) which touches the territory of Valdobbiadene and the "Via dei Laghi", 120 km which takes the participants up in to Vittorio Veneto, gateway to the Dolomites.

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3 - La Monsterrato-Strade Bianche Monferrato
From 2022 this gravel event, with the start and finish in Quattordio, in the province of Alessandria, became part of the new UCI Gravel World Series competition. The ninth round of the event will bring the best gravel cyclists in the world to Piedmonte. The Saturday is reserved for the UCI World Series with two routes of 113 and 150 km. Sunday is reserved to the amateur and non competitive riders with three routes of 56, 106 and 230 km. There is also space reserved for gravel bikes and more. There is ample space for historical and vintage bikes, modern bikes with wide-section tires, mountain bikes and e-bikes.

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4 - The Traka
The Traka is one of the numerous events organised by the Klassmark company who offer a full calendar of events. The Traka is possibly the most important gravel race in Europe. It takes place in Girona, Spain, a city a stones throw from Barcelona where you live and breathe cycling. There are three routes: 360, 200 and 108 km. A tough test that, in recent years, has been able to attract the attention of a number of cycling pros who are normally devoted to road racing. This year the longest distance race was won by the Italian Mattia De Marchi of the Enough Cycling Collective Team, in second place was Lachlan Morton, from Australia who rides for the EF Education - EasyPost team. Just to give you some idea of the races toughness, Mattia was in the saddle for more than 13 hours.

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