On Sunday 1 October, the 2023 Bolero UEC Gravel European Championships & Gravel Belgian Championships will take place in Oud-Heverlee. Almost the entire course of the European and Belgian Championships through the Forests of Brabant is now available on GPX. Well-known names such as Gianni Vermeersch, Jan Bakelants, Jasper Stuyven, Thibau Nys, Philippe Gilbert, Eli Iserbyt and Tiffany Cromwell have already confirmed their participation on 1 October. The race is open to both pros and amateurs. So, any passionate gravel biker can register and join these famous riders at the start.
The 77km long Forests of Brabant Gravel route of the European and Belgian Championships was created by Toerisme Vlaams-Brabant in collaboration with the town of Oud-Heverlee, the Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos and Golazo. The route follows 97% of the race course that the riders will ride on 1 October during the 2023 Bolero UEC Gravel European Championships & Gravel Belgian Championships. For the sake of safety and the applicable accessibility regulations, only a few zones were modified.
The loop starts at the Zoet Water, the tourist attraction of Oud-Heverlee and located in the middle of the Forests of Brabant (National Park in the making). The route also crosses Heverlee forest and Meerdaal forest. It consists of 44 km of unpaved roads, 15 km of car-free concrete lanes, 6 km of cobbles and 12 km of asphalt. Those who complete the full 77 km will be faced with 710 vertical metres.
Many well-known riders have already confirmed their participation in the 2023 Bolero UEC Gravel European Championships & Belgian Championships. World Gravel Champion Gianni Vermeersch will compete for a first European and Belgian title in Oud-Heverlee on 1 October, Leuven rider Jasper Stuyven will not want to miss the Gravel European and Belgian Championships in his backyard, and Jan Bakelants and Philippe Gilbert will also be ready on 1 October. The country’s best cyclocross riders will also attend: Eli Iserbyt, Michael Vanthourenhout and a wide selection of the Baloise Trek Lions including Thibau Nys, Joris Nieuwenhuis, David Haverdings and Olivier Godfroid.
Tiffany Cromwell will also descend on Oud-Heverlee on 1 October. The participation of the Australian, one of the best gravel riders in the world, illustrates the broad international reach of gravel cycling and of the event. The 2023 Bolero UEC Gravel European Championships & Gravel Belgian Championships are open championships, which means that anyone who wants to can participate. Professional racers and amateurs compete together.
There are 13 different (age) categories for both men and women, with the top category obviously being the elite. To qualify for a Belgian or European title, participants do need to have an official licence. The 2023 Bolero UEC Gravel European Championships & Gravel Belgian Championships also count as a qualifying competition for the 2024 Gravel World Championships, which will move from Halle to Leuven in October next year and will, in part, use the same course as the European and Belgian Championships. If you have ambitions of grabbing a World Championships ticket in your age group but do not have a UCI licence, you can apply for a day licence via the KBWB when registering for the European and Belgian Championships. A day licence entitles you to qualify for the World Championships, but not to compete for the European and Belgian Gravel titles.
Download the Gravel Route Forests of Brabant of Toerisme Vlaams-Brabant (GPX) of the European and Belgian Championships: