Unbound Gravel will be broadcast live for a national audience for the first time on June 5, thanks to a partnership with FloBikes, Life Time announced Friday.
According to VeloNews.com, the live coverage begins at noon Saturday, June 5 and will follow riders for roughly seven hours, coinciding with the expected finish time of the Unbound Gravel 100. Coverage will continue as riders complete the 200-mile leg and cross the finish line.
Life Time Marketing Manager Kristi Mohn told The Gazette this week that professional cyclists two-time U.S. Olympian Frankie Andreu and Janel Spilker will provide commentary during the race. Spilker finished third in the 200-mile race in 2017.
Tina Khan and Rob Gilligan will be local faces announcing names as everyone crosses the finish line.
“We’re all just kind of buzzing and we’re so stoked,” Mohn said. “There’s a lot of, like, kind of taking the cobwebs out and wiping the dust off because we skipped a year. Obviously this year we’ve got some COVID policies that were in place from, before the CDC relaxed everything and there’s a few of the things we’re honoring with the change of the 25, 50 and junior races to Friday. But we’re all super pumped and cannot wait to get people here in town.”
And with 2,500 riders registered between all of Unbound Gravel’s event, there is sure to be a big influx of people to the area. Mohn said the downtown block party will look a little different, but the Life Time team is hoping the community comes down to welcome Unbound racers during the event.
“We want people back downtown,” she said. “You will see it looks a little bit different this year because we still had some of the setup left from when COVID restrictions were more in place, but we are excited about it. One of the beer garden block parties will be in the 700 block of Mechanic Street back behind Gravel City Adventure, and we’ll actually have a large screen back there running a video and show the finish line. You can be back there enjoying food and beer back there, but still keep an eye on the finish line. We’ve got another beer garden in the 800 block that’s run by the Granada Theatre again as a fundraiser for them.”
Mohn said there are also a lot more opportunities to track riders on the course this year, so people will have an easier time keeping an eye on the riders they want to watch.
“We are really looking forward to that,” she said.
The competition this year will be one to watch.
“Our pro field this year is off the charts,” Mohn said. “The people that are going to be here are huge names in the cycling field and it’s really exciting to see Emporia play host to such a large and exciting gravel stage, where all these athletes are coming to show their stuff. Then, of course, we just love the fact that we get all these journeyperson athletes, your everyday riders that are also lining up to take on the challenges.”
FloSports said in a written release that the Unbound Gravel broadcast would be an “exciting” event for cycling fans.
“We believe this will be one of the most exciting broadcasts this year for fans that love cycling as it marks the first time gravel racing will be produced at this level,” said Ryan Fenton, director of Global Rights Acquisition at FloSports.
“Gravel racing is one of the intriguing disciplines in cycling and UNBOUND has become a premiere event in the sport. This partnership reaffirms our commitment to leading and investing in the growth of the sport of cycling and elevating the visibility of these athletes. This first-of-its-kind broadcast, in addition to the unmatched coverage of top-tier events around the world, has been integral to the success of FloBikes.”
Watching Unbound Gravel will require an annual subscription of $149 to FloBikes at www.flobikes.com.
Unbound Gravel events kick off Friday with the Unbound 25, 50 and Junior races. Racers line up for the 200 early Saturday morning in downtown Emporia.
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