23 Gravel Nationals 1130x600
Team USA
National Championships

Inaugural USA Cycling Gravel National Championship Heads to Nebraska with Largest Gravel Prize Purse in American History

By: Tara McCarthy  March 16, 2023

The first-ever 2023 USA Cycling Gravel National Championships will take place in Gering, Nebraska on September 9. The event will have a $60,000 prize purse and serve as an automatic qualifier for the UCI Gravel World Championships.

USA Cycling is pleased to announce that the inaugural Gravel National Championships will take place September 9, 2023 in Gering, Neb. with a $60,000 prize purse. The event will remain in Gering for 2024.

“Over the last five years, the explosive growth of gravel has energized American cycling. Our involvement in the past 18 months has mainly focused on the support of gravel event organizers through sanctioning events such as the Grasshopper Adventure Series and the Rule of Three. We’re now proud to join the list of ever-growing gravel events in the United States,” said USA Cycling CEO, Brendan Quirk.

USA Cycling is offering a $60,000 prize purse for the Elite races, with an equal pay out for Men and Women. This marks the largest single-day cash prize in the history of American gravel.

"While this event is a benefit to our members and a long-awaited addition to the national championship calendar, we’re not using a cent of membership dues to fund the prize purse, nor are we diverting funds from grassroots racing programs. 100% of the prizes will be funded by entry fees and sponsorship,” said Quirk.

The best names in off-road racing will be gathering in Nebraska, including 2022 LifeTime Grand Prix Champion Keegan Swenson.

“I am really looking forward to the USA Cycling Gravel National Championships,” said Swenson. “I think gravel has quickly become some of the most competitive racing in the U.S., and I cannot wait to give it my all in Gering, Neb. in the fight for the first gravel stars and stripes jersey.”

With the new addition of the UCI Gravel World Championships, the Gravel National Championship will classify as a qualifier for the 2023 event held in Venetia, Italy October 7-8. The top three in the Elite Men’s and Women’s events will automatically qualify for the World Championships and will be supported by USA Cycling. The finalized World Championship Elite selection criteria will be published in coming weeks. Additionally, age group race winners will automatically qualify for their respective categories for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships.

Last year, Lauren De Crescenzo finished top 20 at the inaugural Gravel World Championship, and is now looking forward to competing for the National title.

“There’s not much we can take credit for as Americans in the history of cycling. But gravel cycling has its roots deeply embedded here, and because of that, I see the USA Cycling Gravel National Championship as the natural progression in the development of our sport,” said De Crescenzo. “The course has equal distance and prize money and represents what a true American gravel race should be. I would love to see an American win a World Championship, solidifying our place on the world stage, and in the process, grow our sport. A proper qualifier with USA Cycling backing is a huge step in making that happen.”

Gravel racers from around the country will be treated to countless miles of dirt roads in Nebraska’s Landmark Country, passing famous rock formations such as Scotts Bluff National Monument and Chimney Rock that once served as landmarks for Native Americans and settlers traveling west on the Oregon Trail. Racers will experience the area’s beauty as they compete on courses with over 90% gravel and they will continue to add to local history by racing in the inaugural Gravel National Championship.

“On behalf of the Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau and Scotts Bluff County, we welcome USA Cycling to Gering. This once in a lifetime opportunity to host an inaugural Gravel National Championship event is a dream come true for our vibrant Western Nebraska community. We look forward to building a memorable race that will create strong relations with athletes and stakeholders in our sports market. We are eager to team up with USA Cycling in 2023-2024,” stated Brenda Leisy, Director of the Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau.

In addition to the support from Scotts Bluff County and Visitors Bureau, Aaron Raines, organizer of the Robidoux Rendezvous, will be assisting in yet again creating another incredible gravel race in Landmark Country.

“The Gering Visitors Bureau and the City of Gering enthusiastically welcome the 2023 Gravel National Championships to Gering and Western Nebraska in partnership with USA Cycling. Gravel riders and guests will experience a welcoming city with an energetic vibe and a rich-historic cycling culture. Natural scenic beauty and historic landmarks backdrop the challenging gravel courses that come together in a community dedicated to hospitality and service to ensure the USA Cycling inaugural event is an adventure and a memorable success," said Karla Niedan-Streeks from the Gering Visitors Bureau.

To learn more about eligibility and race details, visit http://gravelnats.usacycling.org/.

Riders must be USA Cycling members with a domestic racing license to register. Registration will open on Friday, July 14th at 10am MT.

Photo Credit: Nic Tapia / Robidoux Rendezvous