Riders are arriving in Gering, Nebraska, on Thursday ahead of the inaugural USA Cycling Gravel National Championships. The competition gets underway on Saturday with 62 elite men and 22 elite women so far signed up to compete for a total of $60,000 – equally split between the two fields.
The race is also a qualifying event for the UCI Gravel World Championships that will take place in Veneto, Italy, on October 8, 2023. The top three elite men and women automatically qualify for Worlds.
USA Cycling will also fully support each elite winner for the trip to Italy.
Gering, a small town in the far western part of Nebraska, is just across the border from Colorado near the base of the Scotts Bluff National Monument. The elite national championships will both be 131.4 miles long with almost 5,600 feet of elevation gain, and 90% of the course is on gravel roads.
There are national championship races for singlespeed, para and age group categories on the 131.4-mile course, and other age group, para and non-championship categories on 88-mile, 50- and 25-mile courses.
The route includes a series of small rolling climbs and two longer ascents, with a section of rough singletrack near the end that will sap the riders’ strength. Dry, dusty gravel and sandy sections of doubletrack snake through the wide-open plains.
The outright favourite for the men’s race is Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz Bicycles/SRAM), winner of four straight rounds of the LifeTime Grand Prix – the Fuego XL, Unbound, Crusher in the Tushar, and Leadville 100 – this year.
Stetina posted on Instagram that he is going to “give my all for a jersey”.
“The terrain in Gering, Nebraska looks dynamic and I’m keen, daresay excited, to experience how this looks and feels,” he said, praising USA Cycling for “the first of a kind prize purse” and “what looks like a proper course.”
USA Cycling Gravel National Championship Entrants
|Zachary Allison (Bike Sports)|
|Sam Anderson (OKC Velo)|
|Leonardo Azocar (Mack cycle)|
|John Becker (First Internet Bank Cycling)|
|Nathan Bigelow (Go4Graham)|
|John Borstelmann (Ventum / Voler)|
|Barrett Brandon (Ventum)|
|Isaac Bryant (Above and Beyond Cancer p/b Bike World)|