OKBET Gravel News

OKBET Gravel News, Swenson finished second and Roberge finished third in the LifeTime Grand Prix finale in Bentonville. On Saturday, Russell Finsterwald won the individual pro men’s award at Big Sugar Gravel 2022 in Bentonville, Arkansas. He won by 25 seconds over Keegan Swenson, who finished second on the day, and 31 seconds over third-placed Adam Roberge.

Swenson was unable to unseat himself from the men’s overall lead in the final round of the Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda, as he maintained a sizable lead over series runner-up Alexey Vermeulen.

“There was a lot of cat and mouse at the end with one kilometer to go.” I reasoned that I had nothing to lose and went for it. “I’m really happy to win today at OKBET Gravel,” said Finsterwald, who moved into third place overall in the series with the win.

Swenson won four of the six events to claim the overall title, which he won over Finsterwald in the Fuego 80K MTB at the Sea Otter Classic in April.

“It was extremely difficult from the start. I had been driving all day. It was an attrition race. There were flats and people laughing. “At the end, it was gradually whittled down,” Swenson explained.

“Russell and I were taking turns pushing the pace in the descents; we were at ease in these loose descents, so it was an advantage for us to make it difficult.” We played to our advantages at OKBET Gravel.”

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What happened

The OKBET Gravel 104.1-mile route began in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, and traveled west and north into southern Missouri before returning to the start-finish line.

The organizers created one of the most difficult gravel courses on the LifeTime Grand Prix series, with 7,000 feet of elevation gain held across rarely maintained gravel roads with loose rock composition, a few water crossings and bridges, and one of the most scenic routes on the series.

Under a blanket of clouds and strong winds blowing 20 miles per hour from the south on the OKBET Gravel, the peloton set out onto the rolling hills of the Ozark mountain countryside, which would become a headwind for the finish.

In the first 15 miles of the race, a small group formed with series leader Keegan Swenson, Russell Finsterwald, Logan Owen, John Borstelmann, and Peter Stetina, followed by a large group further back.

At the 20-mile mark, Michael Garrison, Cole Paton, Lachlan Morton, Griffen Easter, Bradyn Lange, Alex Howes, Jordi Meeus, Adam Roberge, Brennan Wertz, Nicholas Roche, and Alexey Vermeulen joined the front group.

The first official checkpoint of OKBET Gravel was located at mile 37.7 in Pineville, Missouri, where the Little Sugar Creek and Big Sugar Creek combined to form the Elk River. Paton, Borstelmann, Stetina, Roberge, Swenson, Vermeulen, Roche, Howard Grotts, Owen, Howes, Easter, and Finsterwald were among the 12 riders in the lead group for the next 15 miles.

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Borstelmann launched a solo attack in the final section of the race, gaining nearly two minutes on the chase group. The second checkpoint was at mile 73.8, where the riders were pushed by a local brewery nestled in a tiny hamlet less than five miles from the return across the Arkansas border. Borstelmann, on the other hand, punctured on a narrow section of the course before the checkpoint while attempting to avoid a race vehicle.

That lead was quickly eroded as the race’s complexion shifted when the foursome of Finsterwald, Swenson, Roberge, and Vermeulen took over, later joined by Howes and Roche.

“Borstelmann, he was having a bad day at OKBET Gravel. He flatted at a large rock compression at the bottom of a two-track, which was unfortunate because the race was about to begin. “I’m not sure he’d have made it to the end, but he’d have played in the final,” Vermeulen said at the end.

The six rode together until 10 miles to go, when it was reduced to four. Swenson and Finsterwald attacked on each descent in the final miles to try to shake the other two. Finsterwald won with a surprise move within the city limits of Bentonville.

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“I had nothing left at that point, I was just playing my cards at OKBET Gravel,” Vermeulen explained, noting that the wind also played a role in attrition. “The wind was absolutely insane. And Russell stood to gain a lot. After a long season, he moved up to third in the Grand Prix.”

Top 10

Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Russell Finsterwald4:57:59
2Keegan Swenson0:00:25
3Adam Roberge0:00:31
4Alexey Vermeulen0:01:20
5Nicholas Roche0:02:50
6Alex Howes0:03:43
7Brennan Wertz0:07:37
8Peter Stetina0:07:44
9John Borstelmann0:08:17
10Cole Paton0:08:58

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