- Life Time, the race organizer of UNBOUND and Leadville, is hosting its inaugural Grand Prix races series next year, featuring three gravel and three mountain bike events.
- The prize purse for the series is $250,000 total and will be split evenly between the men’s and women’s fields.
- Only 20 women and 20 men will be selected to compete.
Gravel cycling has seen rapid growth over the last few years, with races increasingly attracting pro cycling talent—and the stakes just got even higher.
For the 2022 season, race organizer Life Time is launching its Grand Prix race series. The series will feature six events—a mix of gravel and mountain bike races—and will offer a $250,000 total prize purse, split evenly between the men’s and women’s fields, in addition to any prizes won at individual races.
Life Time organizes numerous different athletic events, but according to Kimo Seymour, president of media and events at Life Time, the company decided to go forward with the Grand Prix series in part because of the rapid growth that cycling has recently experienced, especially gravel cycling.
“Most growth the past three or four years has been on the cycling side,” Seymour told Bicycling, regarding the company’s events. “There is a resurgence of opportunities for people to make a living riding their bikes in North America.”
The series features three gravel races and three mountain bike races from Life Time’s portfolio—all of which are acclaimed in their own right. The company may rotate including different events every year.
“I thought it was important not to focus too much just on gravel,” Seymour said. “I thought it would be fun to mix it up. The athletes that win this thing have to be good on mixed surfaces.”
Here’s the series lineup and schedule for 2022:
- April 7-10: marathon mountain bike race at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California
- June 4: 200-mile UNBOUND Gravel in Emporia, Kansas
- July 9: 70-mile Crusher in the Tushar in Beaver, Utah
- August 13: Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Leadville, Colorado
- September 17: 40-mile Chequamegon MTB Festival 40 in Cable, Wisconsin
- October 22: 100-mile Big Sugar Gravel in Bentonville, Arkansas
Life Time will select 20 men and 20 women to compete. According to a press release shared with Bicycling, some of the criteria for selected participants includes “their race resume and past race performances, their interest in becoming a part of the Life Time Grand Prix, and how the rider is helping to grow cycling in the U.S. through their activities.”
“We want people that are just good people … good ambassadors for the sport,” Seymour added.
Registration opens on November 22 and closes on December 6. Entry winners will be announced via a personal phone call by December 10. According to Seymour, the series roster will likely be publicly announced by December 15.
Racers will be scored using a points system. Their series result will include their best five finishes out of the six events, meaning they can either do all six races or choose to sit one out. Fans will be able to follow the series results throughout the season on a leaderboard on the .
“I hope [the series] creates just a little bit more excitement around competitive cycling in North America,” Seymour said.
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