Peter Sagan to ride Unbound Gravel 2022
Three-time road world champ interrupts Tour de France preparation for off-road event in US
Peter Sagan will make his first foray into the world of gravel racing next weekend, signing up to ride Unbound Gravel 2022.
The three-time road race world champion will not ride the flagship 200-mile route, instead opting to ride the 100-mile version. The route totals 167km and 5,270 metres of elevation gain through the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Sagan has been seen on the gravel before, with one of his own-branded Gran Fondo events in Truckee, California featuring numerous dirt-road sectors. He has also been part of the promotion around Specialized's Diverge gravel bike.
His appearance at Unbound is linked to his sponsorship deal with Specialized but nevertheless represents a step into the burgeoning gravel scene. The 32-year-old has previously talked about his desire to go gravel, hinting that it could happen once his road career is over.
The Garmin Unbound Gravel presented by Craft returns for a 15th edition with its tire-shredding, sun-baked routes on the rugged roads of the Tallgrass Prairie in the middle of the US. While the early years featured modest-sized fields before the explosion of gravel racing took hold, it now has more than 4,000 participants across five distances. The 200-mile event is the second stop for the inaugural Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda series.
The Unbound Gravel 100 winner last year in the men's division was Stephen Hyde, while Lauren Stephens took the women’s title.
Sagan is currently at an altitude training camp in Utah, and is set to travel from there to Emporia, Kansas on June 3 in order to ride Unbound on June 4. He will then return to Europe the following day, with a few days at home in Monaco followed by a return to racing at the Tour de Suisse.
Sagan will then head to the Tour de France, his first for TotalEnergies, to bid for an eighth green jersey.
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Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
By Jackie Tyson