Unbound Gravel 2023

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Unbound Gravel overview
DateJune 3, 2023
Start locationEmporia, Kansas
Finish locationEmporia, Kansas
Previous editionUnbound Gravel 2022

Keegan Swenson wins men's Unbound Gravel 200

It all came down to a seven rider sprint and in this edition of the Unbound Gravel 200 Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz) was determined not to miss out on the line, shifting up a podium step to take victory after a tough muddy race through the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Former road professional and 2016 De Brabantse Pijl winner Petr Vakoc was second and EF Education-EasyPost rider Lachlan Morton came third after attempting a late break.

"it was a bit of a tricky finish,” Swenson told Cyclingnews at the finish line. “Everyone seemed like they were going pretty well. There were attacks in the last few miles. The finish chute was quite hectic, so I figured I would go a little bit long, and hopefully, block a bit. It worked out.”

Carolin Schiff takes solo victory at women's Unbound Gravel 200

Carolin Schiff has already had a stellar year on gravel, but shot to new heights during the Unbound 200 when she forged clear of the 2022 winner, Sofia Gomez Villafañe, with 60 miles of the race still left and stretched the gap to the line.

The 37-year-old-German stretched the gap to defending champion Villafañe to 15 minutes, while it was Sarah Sturm who came over the line in third, adding another six minutes to the winner's time.

In fourth place, close behind the experienced Sturm, was British gravel champion Danni Shrosbree, who kept picking up places on the hard-packed gravel of the latter phases of the race, with the 'peanut butter mud' of the early stages having delivered chaos to the early stages of the men's and women's race alike.

About Unbound Gravel

The Garmin Unbound Gravel presented by Craft returned the first Saturday in June with five racing distances, including the signature 200-mile event with a mass-start for men and women in downtown Emporia, Kansas. All the routes took in the rugged roads in the Flint Hills of Kansas, defined with sharp rocks and hilly terrain across the Tallgrass Prairie in the middle of the US. 

Unbound Gravel 100 was a competitive, shorter-distance option, designed to serve as a “stepping stone” towards the Unbound Gravel 200.

Unique aspects to these races include the remote roads used for routes through vast prairie lands, the checkpoints participants must locate to follow the correct course, and a “do not call us” policy for breakdowns and injuries.

The Unbound Gravel 200 on June 3, was the first of four gravel races in the Life Time Grand Prix and the second stop in the series. The series will be contested by an invitation-only field of 35 women and 35 men for an equally-split prize purse of $250,000, paid to the top 10 riders with the most points accumulated from five of the seven events. 

Last year, Sofia Gomez Villafanñe won the women’s division of Unbound Gravel 200 with a solo effort across the final 80 miles, her overall time 10 hours, 27 minutes, 40 seconds. Lauren De Crescenzo, the 2021 champion, trailed 9 minutes later for second place, and Emily Newsom was third for the second year in a row, another 13 minutes down.

Ivar Slik won the men’s 200-mile race with five riders contesting the sprint in downtown Emporia, Kansas. Silk clocked a time of 9 hours, 22 minutes, 4 seconds to win the 2022 Unbound Gravel 200. In a photo finish for the final two spots on the podium, Keegan Swenson took second with 2021 champion Ian Boswell taking third.

In the Unbound Gravel 100, Marisa Boaz finished 22nd overall and took the women’s title, while Ethan Oveson won the men’s division.

Join Cyclingnews' coverage of the 2023 Unbound Gravel with race reports, results, photo galleries, news and race analysis.

Unbound Gravel route

The route for Unbound Gravel 200 began and ended on the pavement in downtown Emporia. All Unbound Gravel event distances utilise a single-loop format, with the vast majority of the course on gravel and dirt roads

From the start in front of the historic Granada Theatre, riders will head in a southbound direction similar to what was done in 2022. The route is relentless, with constant ups and downs that add up to 9,100 feet of elevation gain on the 205.5-mile route. There are two checkpoints, one at Eureka (mile 79) and the other at Madison (mile 167), where riders can receive outside support and a pair of neutral ‘water oasis’ stops, Texaco Hill (mile 42) and Hamilton (mile 124). 

Check out the details on our Unbound Gravel route page.

Unbound Gravel Schedule

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DateStageStart time
June 3, 2023 Pro Men Unbound 200, 205.5 miles5:50 am CDT
June 3, 2023 Pro Women Unbound 200, 205.5 miles5:52 am CDT
June 3, 2023Unbound Gravel 100, 103.1 miles7:00 am CDT

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