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Haley Smith earns best-ever Unbound after bunch sprint in Emporia

Interview: Haley Smith joins Trek Driftless team

Haley Smith landed her best-ever finish at Unbound Gravel on Saturday. The Trek Driftless racer soared to fourth in a nine-rider bunch sprint  after 10 hours and 26 minutes of racing. The 200 mile (321 kilometre) race is the second event in the Life Time Grand Prix series.

The 200 mile pro women’s field had a separate start on Saturday. A large group formed and stayed together much of the day. While there were some attacks off the front and occasional splintering, the group slowly whittled down over the course of 10 and a half hours of racing. Coming into the final finish straight in Emporia, Kansas, nine riders were still together to contest the sprint. Rosa Klöser of Denmark takes the win ahead of Geerike Schreurs (NED) and Arkansas’ Paige Onweller. Smith finished fourth, just ahead of Bend, Ore.’s Heather Jackson.

fourth is an improvement of two spots over the Canadian’s previous best finish. Smith placed sixth in her Unbound debut in 2022. The following year, she was seventh. That’s remarkable consistency for a 200-mile event known to be as hard on gear as it is physically demanding. This year’s result will be all the more satisfying as Smith shared she was struggling with ongoing breathing issues coming into the Kansas gravel classic.

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On the men’s side, Lachlan Morton (EF Education Easy Post) out sprinted Chad Haga to claim victory. Morton’s  winning time of 9:11:47 sets a new course record. Tobias Kongstad earns third. It’s a rare Lifetime event loss for Keegan Swenson, who crossed the line 14th.

Andrew L’Esperance (Maxxis Factory Racing) led the Canadian men, finishing 21st in Kansas on Saturday. He finished in 9:25:44. Ben Perry was the next Canuck across the line in 35th. Adam Roberge placed 38th, Rob Britton 47th, Sean Fincham 57th and Kyle Fry 71st.

Full 2024 Unbound Gravel results are online, with many riders still on course in Kansas.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…