Eroica founder discussing launch of pro gravel race series with UCI

Founder of event first held on Tuscany's Strade Bianche wants to take the sport old school...

The founder of the Eroica series of retro sportives, which led to the creation of modern-day classic race Strade Bianche, is in talks with the UCI about creating a professional gravel race series.

Italian news agency Adnkronos reports that Giancarlo Brocci, who launched the first edition of the Erioca in the Tuscan town of Gaiole in Chianti in 1997, met this week with UCU president David Lappartient to discuss the idea.

Also present at the meeting, at world cycling’s governing body’s headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, were representatives of 16 Swiss ski resorts who are looking for new event opportunities given the crisis they face from receding levels of snow.

“Lappartient said he was very interested,” Bocci said afterwards, “and is setting up a discussion group to evaluate the details of the proposal.

“In fact, the route to professional cycling’s Erioca began today.”

According to Adnkronos, Brocci put forward the idea of an alternative calendar, “perhaps on unknown roads, not just the usual classic climbs which everyone knows.

“Besides, even the major classics are looking for new routes.”

Further outlining the proposal, he said he was thinking about races beyond 00 kilometres in distance, “maybe with the start at night and on bikes without climbing gears to show who really makes the difference on ascents.

“Computers and radios would be banned, riders would stop to refuel, and it would be forbidden for riders to have less than 6 per cent body fat,” he continued.

Bocci said that cycling is “a sport in a technical crisis and its particpants are distanced from the people, they no longer know how to enthuse the crowds.

He added that technology had made cycling “boring,” with races “predictable”,” killing the “poetry” of the sport.

“Fans can’t become passionate about athletes who are often too thin, almost malnourished,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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