35 men and 35 women will compete for a prize of US$250,000
Sarah Sturm is one of 35 women selected to compete in the 2023 Life Time Grand Prix presented by the Mazda Race Series. (Polite Life)
Life Time recently announced the 70 athletes selected to compete in the 2023 Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda Race Series, and several Durango natives and former Fort Lewis College cyclists have been selected.
A large field of 70 athletes, including 35 men and 35 women, will compete for a prize purse of $250,000, split evenly across the seven-race series.
Featured local athletes include Ellen Campbell, Sarah Sturm, Sofia Gomez Villafane, Howard Grotts, Payson McElveen and Cole Paton.
“Bring the dirt, bring the endurance, bring seven races,” Sturm said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot from racing this season and I’m happy to carry that into next year. I hope to be part of the “travel circus” again, it was really exciting to be part of the off-road series for the year, people were eager to watch and it was a great learning experience for me. athlete.”
Cyclists set off at the start of last year’s Stages Cycling Leadville Trail 100 MTB. The Leadville 100 will be one of seven events in the 2023 Life Time Grand Prix presented by the Mazda Race Series. (Polite Life)
In last year’s women’s final tournament, Gomez Villafane was second with 134 points, Sturm was third (134) and Campbell was 15th (87). Hailey Smith of Quebec, last year’s overall winner with 138 points, is also slated to return.
“I believe this type of event is the future of the sport,” Smith said. “It is refreshing and encouraging to be a part of a style of event that is geared towards mass participation and attracting more people of all skill levels. I strongly believe that professionals have a role to play in this equation, and part of my goal is to encourage people of all abilities to take up cycling. This is exactly what these events achieve!”
“The world of cycling is growing and evolving in many ways, and Grand Prix 2022 has been a game-changer for endurance cycling, which I’ve been lucky enough to experience,” said Campbell. “I see how this series is changing the cycling community to a new level.”
In the men’s final standings, Paton was fourth with 129 points and Grotts was 11th with 100 points. Unfortunately, injury kept McElveen out of several races. Utah’s Keegan Swenson won the overall title with 149 points.
“The mix of events and the overall points haul keeps me motivated and excited for the entire racing season,” said Paton.
“I want to encourage people to try new types of cycling and show them that you can have fun almost anywhere on any type of bike,” Swenson said.
Other athletes selected from Colorado include Lauren De Crescenzo, Holly Mathews, Deanna Myles, Jessica Mullins, Hannah Shell, Alexis Skarda, Starla Teddergreen, Caroline Tory, Leah Van der Linden, Ruth Winder, Eric Brunner, Russell Finsterwald, Lach Morton, Alex Morton, , Alexey Vermeulen and Jack Odron.
This year’s series includes seven events, beginning with the Sea Otter Classic on April 22 in Monterey, California. The series then moves to Kansas on June 3rd for the UNBOUND Gravel, followed by the Tusharda Crusher in Utah on July 8th, the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Colorado on August 12th, the Chequamegon MTB Festival in Wisconsin on September 16th, and then wraps up. Oct. 21 in Arkansas with Big Sugar Gravel. The seventh wild card event is scheduled to be announced on January 11.
The top 10 men and women in the final overall standings will share a $250,000 purse, with the first-place finishers earning $25,000. Some events in the series also have their own prize bags.
Athletes will be ranked against other Life Time Grand Prix competitors based on points earned based on their finishing position in each event. Similar to the 2022 series, the first athlete will receive 35 points, the second, 34; third, 33; and so on. The overall results will use an athlete’s best five finishes, and participants must start in five of the seven races to qualify for the overall award. The final event in the series, the Life Time Big Sugar Gravel, is also mandatory and will serve as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie.
“After the great success of the 2022 Life Time Grand Prix, our team is ready to return in 2023,” said Kimo Seymour, president of Life Time Events. “Thanks to the leadership and input of our athletes, sponsors, communities and team members, we’ve made changes to the series as we strive to attract more fans to professional cycling in North America. We are all looking forward to 2023 and beyond.”