- These riders piece together privateer racing programs funded by brands who pay for access to their social media, jersey space, word-of-mouth endorsement, and world-class talent. It’s a model that’s been popular amongst mountain bikers and cyclocross racers for years, however it’s one that’s totally new to the roadies who are entering the gravel space.
- A few years ago I would have laughed at the concept of a professional gravel racer who spends five hours a day agonizing over tweets and Instagram video. I’m not laughing anymore. These riders are earning enough cash from their endorsements to make mortgage payments. And chapeau to them—they have made gravel racing a legitimate professional undertaking.
- Let me reiterate myself: These riders are helping push the business of American pro bike racing in a new direction. You’ve likely read our coverage of the changing landscape of American cycling. The Amgen Tour of California has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Domestic pro road teams are heading overseas to get racing days. Amateur racers like Justin Williams can grab more media attention than WorldTour pros. Anyone, it seems, can launch their own mass-participant cycling event. And yes, big time gravel events are booming.
Global Cycling Network, Can Simon Survive A True US Gravel Race? | Racing the Steamboat Epic, Aug 25, 2019.
Can Si survive a proper gravel race? The Steamboat gravel race in Colorado is a true American gravel race, with a mixture of professional and amateur riders tackling the challenging high altitude route together.