At the Garmin Unbound Gravel presented by Craft in downtown Emporia, Kansas, Dutchman Ivar Slik beat out Keegan Swenson and defending winner Ian Boswell to win the men’s 200-mile event. Defending champion Laurens ten Dam, who finished second to Boswell in last year’s two-up sprint, finished in fourth place, seven seconds back of the winner in this year’s photo finish. Vermeulen, who won the Belgian Waffle Ride California in 2022, finished in fifth place,
As a major aim of mine this year, I was ecstatic. A little amount of luck goes a long way in this world, where so much can happen. I arrived in the best shape possible. Slik said it was “amazing” to win in a sprint of five, his third gravel race of the season.
When Slik raced Rule of Three in Bentonville, Arkansas, he suffered a late puncture and was unable to compete. He finished second this year at Gravel Locos.
This Year’s Season of The Grand Prix.
Swenson will most likely keep his overall lead in the Life Time Grand Prix series with a second-place finish at Unbound, following his triumph in the opening round at Sea Otter Classic. Even while the heavy muck on the 200-mile southern route posed no major obstacles for the 2021 men’s champion of the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour, it was the sprint on pavement and the powerful kick by Slik that prevented him from becoming a two-time champion.
After the second checkpoint, a quartet of riders had broken away from the pack: Slik, Boswell, Swenson, and Vermeulen. The four leaders rode together, overtaking a long line of cyclists en route to the finish line of the 100-mile race as they alternated at the front of the pack on flat, hard-packed dirt roads. With Ten Dam in hot pursuit, Peter Stetina and Rob Britton teamed up for the chase.
There Are 15 Kilometers to Go.
With only 15 kilometers remaining,
Ten Dam had made his way back to the front group after passing Stetina and Britton at mile 186. It was down to a five-person lead pack for the last 24 miles of racing through Emporia State University and into downtown Emporia after nine hours of racing on a road riddled with puddles in every pothole.
Slik won the race at an unofficial time of 9:22:05 while wearing a special outfit honoring American stuntman Evel Knievel. The 29-year-old Dutchman, who raced for the UCI Continental team ABLOC CT out of the Netherlands the previous two seasons, returned to Unbound for the second time. When it came to his gear, he remarked that the addition of custom aero bars was an advantage.
A Repeated Front Group from Last Year.
“This is the dirtiest I’ve ever gotten… Wow, what a great show “As he crossed the finish line caked in mud, Boswell said: “I think this year has been better than last year for me. Last year was a breeze for me, with no problems or flat tires. Neither rain nor mud could be found. I think this year was a lot more difficult for me. To make matters worse, I had a flat tire quite early in the morning. That’s where I ended up.
“When it was only the four of us and Laurens returned, it was a repeat of last year’s front group, which saw everyone perform admirably. I had hoped that the strongest rider would win, as I had started this morning. Ivan, the gravelmeister, is a freaking powerful man. In a sprint, he has more power than I do.”
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|4||Laurens ten Dam||0:00:08|
|11||Mattia De Marchi||0:19:48|
A few miles of impassable roads were removed from the course’s southernmost leg late Thursday after heavy rains earlier in the week forced organizers to change the route. The 200-mile riders left Emporia, Kansas under gloomy skies. During the middle of the course, riders were met with rain and wind, but by the second checkpoint, the sun was shining and helping to dry off some of the muddy portions.
After 20 miles, a strong group included Spain’s Freddy Ovett (Spain), Thomas Dekker (The Netherlands), Samuel Hunter Grove, Stefano Barberi, Brennan Wertz, Alexey Vermeulen (Belgium), Lance Haidet (USA), and Keegan Swenson (USA) were in the lead. From the huge lead pack, Logan Owen and Swenson began a single attack at mile 41.3, which they were quickly followed by.
The 200-Milers at The 200-Mile Mark.
Having rejoined the 200-milers at mile 77.3, Owen and Swenson were once again at the head of a pack of around 18 cyclists.
After the aid station transition, Ten Dan was the next rider to take the lead, with Stetina close behind. There were just 13 riders left to follow after Paul Voss when Ten Dam and Matta De Marchi pushed ahead of him 12 miles into the race at mile 92. With 120 miles to go, Ten Dam took a single lead and held it for another 15 miles.
Boswell, Vermeulen, Stetina, Swenson, and Silk created a new front group around mile 147. As a result, Ten Dam had dropped to second place and was going after him. Russell Finsterwald and Rob Britton arrived not much later, at exactly 30 seconds apart. Slik, Boswell, and Swenson were chosen after the second checkpoint in Madison, with little under 36 miles to ride, and they were joined by Vermeulen and Ten Dam a few miles later.
Jackie has worked in sports journalism, sports marketing, and public relations for more than 30 years.
Organisation Specializing in Marketing.
Peloton Sports, a sports marketing and public relations organization,
was created by her in 1998 and has handled projects for the Tour de Georgia, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, and the United States Cycling Federation. In addition, she established the non-profit organization Bike Alpharetta Inc.
in Georgia to promote bicycle safety. After six years in the baseball industry, selling advertising and hauling tarps, she feels accomplished. She has made three ascents of l’Alpe d’Huez (not fast). Horse farms in north Georgia (USA), lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mountain bike trips in Park City, Utah, are among her favorite places to ride (USA).