While many U.S. cycling fans may be focused on Sunday’s UCI Cyclocross World Cup race, a.k.a. #shorttrackgravel, in Waterloo, Wisconsin, the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships, took place on Saturday on the white gravel roads of Veneto, Italy, organized by a multi-time cyclocross World Champ in Belgian Erwin Vervecken.

It was a bold move that upset many of the American gravel scene. While Americans didn’t invent gravel, gravel bikes, or racing bikes on gravel, they did popularize long, all-day affairs that attracted pros and amateurs and spawned a whole industry movement of turning everything related to bicycles #gravelspecific. The UCI held its first mountain bike world championships in the USA, a year after the NORBA world championships, and some think the U.S. should host the first event, with an American-style event.

Still, a number of Americans took the start in Italy.

First Climb Fireworks

On the first major climb of the 140km race, the gravel peloton unleashed the first fireworks in the #marathoncyclocross race, with France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Switzerland’s Sina Frei, Italy’s Chiara Teocchi, Germany’s Jade Treffeisen, USA-based Argentinian Sophia Gomez Villafane and USA’s Laurens Stephens working together to distance the rest of the field and building a gap that would grow to over a minute over the chasers.

Gomez Villafane was first to pop, and then Stephens, who was often dangling at the back, fell off the pace.

The front four took turns at the front, with Frei and Ferrand-Prevot looking the strongest.

If you ignored the white gravel and occassional singletrack, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a road race.

As the four neared the finale, Treffeisen looked to be struggling, and as the course turned towards the final kilometers, a cyclocross-style section with grass and hairpins proved to be too much for the German rider.

On the final rise into the finishing straight, Frei accelerated with Ferrand-Prevot on her wheel and Teocchi was dropped.

Prevot sprinted to victory to take her fourth rainbow jersey in two months, to add to her XCO, XCC and Marathon mountain bike world titles this year. By our count, that makes 15 World Championships, including junior and relay titles, for the French superstar.

Stephens held on for 15th, top American.

See the full results below.

See who is lining up for Sunday’s men’s Gravel World Championships race.

2022 UCI Gravel World Championships Results - Elite Women - Veneto, Italy

123FERRAND-PREVOT PaulineFRA4:09:07
210FREI SinaSUI4:09:07
312TEOCCHI ChiaraITA4:09:17
425TREFFEISEN JadeGER4:09:18
527GUARISCHI BarbaraITA4:09:33
634CROMWELL TiffanyAUS4:09:46
720SANGUINETI IlariaITA4:10:09
87BORGHESI LetiziaITA4:12:14
932LELEIVYTE RasaLTU4:12:18
1018MARKUS RiejanneNED4:12:20
119BERTIZZOLO SofiaITA4:12:59
1316BETZ SvenjaGER4:13:06
1422ROMEU MartaESP4:13:10
1536STEPHENS LaurenUSA4:17:51
1621LAIZANE LijaLAT4:18:16
1719SHROSBREE DanielleGBR4:19:35
1817SCHNEIDER JanineGER4:19:36
1929STURM SarahUSA4:19:37
2028DE CRESCENZO LaurenUSA4:20:51
216SÖDERSTRÖM MikaSWE4:26:56
2250PIANA DeboraITA4:26:59
2343NEWSOM EmilyUSA4:29:34
2415MOONEN PuckNED4:31:11
2549BORGHESI GiadaITA4:31:11
2633SIMMONDS HayleyGBR4:31:18
2739JOHANSSON HannaSWE4:31:22
2846WINELL CarinSWE4:31:27
298NUTT MadeleineGBR4:33:54
303RICHARDS DarcieAUS4:39:16
3142VOSS AmandaGER4:39:36
3238LECHNER EvaITA4:43:17
331HASHIMI FaribaAFG4:46:25
3441GIESEN AnnaGER4:46:30
3547MAZZUCOTELLI SimonaITA4:51:54
3626PORTER EmmaIRL5:08:07
3735MARTIN PEREZ LauraESP5:10:59
382ALEPER MaryUGA5:15:04
395HASHIMI YuldozAFG5:43:54

2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Waterloo Start List – Elite Women and Men