Mathieu van der Poel will star in the first edition of Gravel World Championships in Veneto this Sunday.
The Gravel World Championships will take place on October 8 and 9, in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. The elite men will face a race of about 190 kilometres on Sunday. The start is in Vincenza and the finish in Cittadella. About 75 percent of the route consists of gravel roads. In the early part of the race there are several steep slopes, the second part is flatter.
In Veneto, Van der Poel will compete against Greg Van Avermaet, Gianni Vermeersch, Zdenek Stybar, Peter Sagan, Daniel Oss, and compatriots such as Piotr Havik, Jasper Ockeloen and Ivar Slik, the winner of Unbound Gravel.
“We are writing a bit of history on Sunday,” Van der Poel looks ahead. “For me my very first gravel race in my career. Although it is not completely new. I trained on the gravel bike for the first time today and it feels like something between road racing and cyclocross. The adaptation on the bike wasn’t too bad.”
“It’s mainly fun to be there. And if the feeling is okay on Sunday, we will obviously do our best to get the best possible result.”
“A World Championship is special anyway,” says Vermeersch. “For me too, this is the very first race with the gravel bike. I don’t really know what to expect. I have already looked at the course on the internet and it seems relatively flat and not too technical. A bit like the gravel roads in Dwars door het Hageland. In any case, I am looking forward to it. My first encounter with the bike was already pleasant.”