World Cup gravel 2024 proposed: start in Halle and finish in Leuven, through the Brabantse Wouden with at least 70 percent off-road
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Leuven is the finish place of the World Cup gravel that will be held in Belgium in October 2024. The starting place is Halle. As a foretaste, there is the very first BK gravel that will be held next year on October 15 with start and finish in Oud-Heverlee.

Hugo Coorevits

The 2021 road world championships are only fresh in our minds, or Leuven is once again in the picture as the place to be for the very first World Cup on gravel that takes place in our country.

Organizer Golazo, together with Flanders and the province of Flemish Brabant, announced this on Tuesday afternoon in Holiday Inn Diegem. Unlike the World Cup in Veneto, the title fight will really go through the woods this time. Course builder Erwin Vervecken guarantees at least 70 percent off-road. Much to the delight of World Champion Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) present, who successfully completed a monster breakaway in Veneto.

The course runs through the Brabantse Wouden, which is a candidate for the title of National Park. Starting with a loop around Halle and then going through the Hallerbos and the Zoniënwoud to the Meerdaalwoud. The exact route will only be determined after consultation with the Agency for Nature and Forests and the various municipalities. “In this way, after the 100th World Championship on the road, which took place in Leuven in 2021, we can once again show Flanders as a cycling nation with great organizational talent,” says Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister for Sport. “By bringing major (sports) events to Flanders, we show our Flemish assets. We do not only look at popular sports. We also make well-considered choices for side branches of popular sports or niche sports, of which we expect the benefits to outweigh the costs. The gravel World Cup fits in with this logic,” says Weyts. “At the road world championships in Leuven, we talked about a government investment of 13 million euros and an economic return of almost 26 million euros. Here we are talking about an investment of 300,000 euros from the Flemish government in a budget that revolves around one million euros.”

According to Flemish Minister of Tourism and Nature, Zuhal Demir, “no cycling discipline brings you as close to nature as gravel cycling”. World champion Gianni Vermeersch puts it differently: “Gravel is the perfect combination of road cycling and cyclocross. “You need the longevity of the road and the technicality of cyclocross.”

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The date of the world championships has not yet been set, but the aim is for the weekend of October 5 and 6. On Saturday the women and the masters would ride, on Sunday the men.

BC 2023 in Oud-Heverlee

Next year on October 15, the Belgians will get a taste of the World Cup twelve months later. With start and finish in Oud-Heverlee, located on the south side of Leuven, the candidate champions travel through the Meerdaalwoud, which is the finish loop of the World Cup. After all, Oud-Heverlee is the gateway to the Brabantse Wouden. Golazo hopes that the ‘open BK’, which starts at the recreation park Zoet Water, will also be qualifier serves for the World Cup, so that foreigners can also get a taste of this gravel circuit.

To be admitted to the World Clay Championships, a candidate must qualify through mass events across the five continents over a full year. The unique thing is that the amateur excavator is at the start with the absolute world top from several cycling disciplines.

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