Gravel Worlds Podium Bikes! Detailed gravel technical gallery
Road and gravel technologies battled it out for women’s racing at the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships.
Multidisciplinary star Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, the current XC, short track and marathon mountain bike world champion, edged out Olympic XC silver medalist Sina Frei to don a fourth rainbow jersey of 2022. The Italian Chiara Teocchi finished third.
And these are the three podium bikes: the brand new BMC Kius from Ferrand-Prévot, the Specialized Roubaix from Frei and the Specialized Diverge from Teocchi.
With fast conditions on the hard course and only 660m of elevation gain over 140km, aerodynamically optimized gravel bikes and road bikes shod with gravel tires were the order of the day in Italy.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the technology from the very first gravel worlds.
BMC Kaius by Pauline Ferrand-Prévot
The new BMC Kius was only launched last month, as the Swiss brand’s take on a lightweight, aero gravel bike.
If it sounds like a pumped-up BMC Teammachine for gravel racing, that’s because it is.
The Kius shares its lines with the Teammachine road bike, including the angular head tube, thick downtube and tapered top tube.
The Kius also has a claimed weight of 910g and uses BMC’s ICS Integrated Cockpit, but adds 44mm tire clearance and gravel geometry, combining a long reach with a short stem for front wheel stability. and quick steering.
Despite its low weight, BMC says the frame has been reinforced in areas where it will be exposed to the elements of gravel riding.
Beyond the frame and cockpit, the Kius’ aerodynamic improvements continue with BMC’s Aerocore bottle cages, similar to those found on Timemachine and Teammachine road bikes, and integrated into the frame for seemingly smooth airflow. .
Ferrand-Prévot’s Kius was fitted with a 1x drivetrain for gravel worlds, combining a 40-tooth SRAM Red chainring and a Red eTap electronic rear derailleur, with what appears to be a SRAM XPLR 10-44t cassette.
The rolling stock comes from French brand Duke Racing Wheels, shod in 35c Vittoria Terreno Dry TLR tubeless tires for the fast, flat Vicenza course.
The specialized Roubaix of Sina Frei
Runner-up Sina Frei and Chiara Teocchi, who completed the podium, rode Specialized bikes, with the former choosing the Roubaix endurance road bike and the latter the Diverge gravel bike.
With little elevation or technical terrain on the course for this weekend’s first gravel world championships, Frei will be far from the only one riding a road bike shod with gravel tires – we can expect the same for Sunday’s men’s race, which features a number of road stars. , including Mathieu van der Poel and Peter Sagan.
With top endurance bikes now featuring generous tire clearance, a rubber change can turn a road bike into a gravel-lite bike.
That’s the case with Frei’s bike, running the Roubaix’s (official) 33mm clearance with Specialized Pathfinder Pro gravel rubber, in a new 32mm size, on 50mm-deep Roval Rapide CLX II wheels. for an aerodynamic advantage.
Like Ferrand-Prévot, the drivetrain components come from SRAM, but Frei’s Roubaix uses a 2x setup with a double crankset.
While the course in Italy didn’t bring any of the ruggedness of some gravel races, like the 200-mile Unbound, Frei got some extra comfort courtesy of Roubaix’s FutureShock helmet, which offers 20mm of suspension.
The specialized divergence of Chiara Teocchi
Italian Teocchi opted for the more conventional gravel choice in the specialist stable, the Diverge.
Like the Roubaix, the Diverge uses Specialized’s FutureShock helmet system, but gains additional tire clearance and a more relaxed geometry for gravel riding.
Teocchi rode the Zipp 303 S carbon wheelset, once again wrapped in 32mm Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires, combining a slick center tread with a progressively more aggressive side tread.
The Diverge has clearance for tires up to 47mm wide, leaving plenty of room to spare on Teocchi’s machine.
While Specialized released the lightweight S-Works Pathfinder earlier this year, the tougher Pathfinder Pro is generally preferred by gravel riders.
With less support than a road race, Teocchi took precautions with a tubeless sealant/inflator attached to the Roval Terra seatpost and S-Works Power underseat pannier with mirror.
As for the powertrain, it goes back to 1x for Teocchi, but this time in a mule configuration—business up front (road components) and party in the rear (MTB components).
That means pairing a 40-tooth SRAM Force crankset with a SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS rear derailleur and a massive 10-50t cassette.