Unbound Gravel gets expanded live coverage from FloBikes

Roaming cameras on 4x4s are planned to bring additional live footage to FloBikes coverage from Unbound Gravel in 2022
Roaming cameras on 4x4s are planned to bring additional live footage to FloBikes coverage from Unbound Gravel in 2022 (Image credit: Life Time)

FloSports announced it will expand its exclusive broadcast of the 2022 Garmin Unbound Gravel presented by Craft this Saturday, providing new drone footage among 12 camera positions and adding timing mats and spotters for six-plus hours of live coverage from Emporia, Kansas.

The live broadcast will be made available to subscribers on the FloBikes streaming platform beginning at 12:00 CDT, which will include highlights from race starts earlier that day. 

Last year organisers for the gravel event, Life Time Fitness, inked a two-year deal with FloSports to bring a full production of programming for the first time to a growing audience of gravel fans. The 2022 broadcast will be made available to a worldwide audience, and will enhance the scope of coverage with a total of 12 cameras, with a focus on the action in the 200-mile race. When the coverage begins, the top 100-mile riders should be near the finish line in downtown Emporia.

Among the dozen cameras on course this year are four drones for aerial shots and four moto cameras to track race leaders and key chasers. There will be two roaming cameras on 4X4s moving to key locations along the course as well as two cameras at the finish line. 

FloSports also plans to increase timing mats and spotters located throughout the course to provide real-time information to race commentators, Frankie Andreu, who raced on the road for 11 years and was a two-time US Olympian, and Janel Spilker, a nine-year road pro who finished third in Emporia in 2017 in the 200-mile race and won Crusher in the Tushar. Interviews from athletes at the finish line will be dispatched by former cyclo-cross rider Ellen Noble. 

The signature event, Unbound Gravel 200, includes 9,700 feet (2,956.5 metres) of elevation gain across the Flint Hills of Kansas, known for the sharp rocks and prairie winds that can cause havoc with equipment and both mental and physical stamina. Back to defend titles are Lauren De Crescenzo, who won the women’s division of Unbound Gravel 200, and Ian Boswell, who won a sprint finish against Laurens ten Dam in the men’s division. 

Unbound Gravel 100 covers much of the same terrain with 5,270 feet (1,606 metres) of elevation gain. Both 2021 winners are back to defend titles, Lauren Stephens for the women and Stephen Hyde for the men, Hyde finishing in 5:20:13 and Stephens in 5:41:58. 

With a mass start at 7 a.m. on Saturday for Unbound 100, the FloBikes coverage should open with the battle for top honours in this division. The 200-mile mass start departs 6th and Commercial in downtown Emporia at 6 a.m. (CDT), with the fastest riders expected to finish 10-12 hours later.

This year, the 200-mile race is the second stop on the six-race Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda off-road series, and boasts an all-star start list with most of the 60 invited athletes taking part in the series in attendance.

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Jackie Tyson