Greg Van Avermaet: Road riders at Gravel Worlds can only help make the sport bigger

“Cycling should always be fun, even if you’re a professional,” Greg Van Avermaet said on Friday evening as he caught a train to Brussels Airport. It was a thought to sustain him on the late flight south to Venice ahead of this weekend’s inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships.

Van Avermaet’s road season came to an end with fourth place at Binche-Chimay-Binche on Tuesday, but he opted to keep his campaign going for a few more days to tackle the gravel of the Veneto on Sunday. The idea was tentatively pitched by his bike sponsor BMC last winter, but it was all hypothetical until the middle of last month, when AG2R-Citroën gave their formal blessing.