Gravel might still be viewed as the young upstart by many old-school cyclists — but a prize purse like this will surely draw elite racers of all kinds.
When the first-ever USA Cycling Gravel National Championships kick off in western Nebraska on Sept. 9, riders will compete for a $60,000 prize purse. The event will also serve as an automatic qualifier for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Gravel World Championships, according to an announcement.
Prize money goes to the Elite races, with an equal payout for both Men’s and Women’s categories. This marks the largest single-day cash prize in the history of American gravel, said organizers. They see gravel as a galvanizing force in American cycling — and so does Lauren De Crescenzo, who will compete for the national title this November.
“There’s not much we can take credit for as Americans in the history of cycling,” De Crescenzo said in the press release. “But gravel cycling has its roots deeply embedded here, and because of that, I see the USA Cycling Gravel National Championship as the natural progression in the development of our sport.”
A Qualifier for UCI Gravel World Championships
Some of the biggest names in off-road racing will gather for the event in the small town of Gering, Neb., including 2022 LifeTime Grand Prix Champion Keegan Swenson.
“I am really looking forward to the USA Cycling Gravel National Championships,” said Swenson. “I think gravel has quickly become some of the most competitive racing in the U.S., and I cannot wait to give it my all in the fight for the first gravel stars-and-stripes jersey.”
But winners get much more than a sweet jersey and a pile of cash. Perhaps the biggest draw is the chance to compete at the international level. The top three winners among men and women will qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships in Venetia, Italy, on Oct. 7-8. Additionally, age group race winners will automatically qualify for their respective categories in the world championship event.
As for the Nebraska race, gravel riders will cover many miles of dirt roads throughout Landmark County. The course includes famous rock formations such as Scotts Bluff National Monument and Chimney Rock. Both served as landmarks for Native Americans and settlers traveling west on the Oregon Trail.
To learn more about eligibility and race details, visit USA Cycling. Riders must be USA Cycling members with a domestic racing license to register. Registration opens Friday, July 14, at 10 a.m. MT.