Following on the heels of the first UCI Gravel World Championships, USA Cycling (USAC) is planning to jump into the gravel game and host a USA Gravel National Championship event according to an article in VeloNews.
USAC rookie CEO Brendan Quirk, who has been on the job for one year, wants the national cycling governing organization to hold its first ever Gravel National Championship in 2023, presumably for elite and age group riders like the UCI Gravel World Championships held in Trento, Italy last October.
To achieve gravel success, Quirk hopes to develop a business model that allows USAC to promote gravel cycling, gain more members and increase revenue while doing the same for organizers.
It is a tough business proposition, one that puts USAC and organizers seemingly at odds with one another while fighting for the same goal.
To date, USA organizers have shunned the idea of aligning with USAC, questioning the limited value (insurance) USAC brings to gravel events. Over 95% of the events are not sanctioned by USAC, with organizers preferring to hold grassroots style events without oversight and bureaucracy of a national governing body. From a participant’s point of view, grassroots gravel cost significantly less since it does not require an annual USA Cycling license, which costs $110 USD.
No doubt though, just like at the Gran Fondo National Championships, a racing license will be required to compete in the Gravel National Championships, though that affects only a very, small number of riders.
Quirk offered no specifics on the 2023 Gravel National Championships, including finding a date on an already packed gravel calendar, venue, course, or rules, but promised to provide details by the beginning of the year.
One thing is certain though, coveted red, white and blue stars-n-stripes national championship jerseys will be in high demand and only a few select graveleurs will earn the right wear one.