Saturday, 28 January 2023

Cycling News

Haley Smith headlines 2023 Life Time Grand Prix roster

Haley Smith headlines 2023 Life Time Grand Prix roster

Life Time announced the 70 riders who will contest its 2023 Grand Prix series. The expanded rider list includes four Canadians. For its second year, Life Time Grand Prix attracted a more international field, though it is still primarily made up of North American athletes.

Haley Smith aims to defend crown

Haley Smith, winner of the inaugural Life Time Grand Prix, is back to defend her 2022 title next season. She is the lone Canadian in the elite women鈥檚 field.

鈥淚 believe this style of event is the future of the sport. It鈥檚 refreshing and motivating to be part of an event style that is focused on mass participation and getting more people involved at all levels of ability,鈥 Smith says of her experience at the 2022 Life Time Grand Prix. I very much think pros have a role to play in this equation, and part of my purpose is to inspire people of all abilities to take up bike riding. These events accomplish just that!鈥

Smith will face a strong field of challengers, returning and new. They include Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo.) and Sofia Gomez Villafane (Heber City, Utah), runners-up in 2022, are back. As are Alexis Skarda and Hannah Otto. Among the new faces is U.S. cyclocross powerhouse Raylyn Nuss (St. Louis, Miss.).

Rob Britton and Andrew L'Esperance ride in the Gravel Explorer XLT
Britton leads out L鈥橢sperance at the 2022 BC Bike Race Gravel Explorer in between Grand Prix events. Photo: Chris Stenberg

Canadian trio take on men鈥檚 field

The three returning Canadians on the 2023 Grand Prix list all finished in the top 10 in 2022. Andrew L鈥橢sperance finished sixth, the fastest Canuck. Retired World Tour road racer Rob Britton tied with Quebec gravel specialist Rob Adam Roberge on points, with Roberge taking the seventh spot overall and Brittion eighth.

鈥淭he previous season helped to confirm the choice I made to leave road racing behind and really helped to regain the hunger to train and hustle again,鈥 said 38-year-old Britton of his return to the 2023 Grand Prix.

The Canuck trio will face off against returning champion, Keegan Swenson. The Utah racer dominated the 2022 Grand Prix series. Both runners-up, Colorado鈥檚 duo of Russell Finsterwald and Alexey Vermeulen return to try unseat Swenson. As are Lachlan Morton, Peter Stetina and Payson McElveen.

Matt Beers races with Christopher Blevins during stage 4 of the 2022 Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic

Grand Prix gets international

New for 2023 is a more international feel to the Life Time Grand Prix. Where the first…

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