Formula 1 driver and boyfriend of WorldTour pro Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM), Valtteri Bottas is partnering up with the organizers of SBT GRVL to host FNLD GRVL, a new gravel event in Lahti, Finland in June 2023.
Together they're hoping to to create "the premier gravel event in Europe".
SBT GRVL, the brainchild of Amy Charity, is among the most successful gravel events in the U.S. despite being a rather new event. Held in the picturesque mountain town of Steamboat, Colorado, SBT GRVL was started in 2018 and has quickly grown to an event with some 3000 riders, live race broadcasting and a prize purse of $22,000 USD.
Bottas attended SBT GRVL in 2021 and bested some 500 riders to end up in fifth place overall in the 64-mile distance.
“I’ve been riding gravel around my hometown of Lahti, Finland for years, and discovered SBT GRVL in Steamboat Springs, CO (USA) in 2021,” said Bottas in a press release. “I was impressed with such a world-class event. When Amy Charity and Chris Lyman reached out to me about partnering on a race in Finland, I saw it as a tremendous opportunity to build something similarly special in Lahti.”
Lahti lies an hour’s drive north of Helsinki, at the edge of Finnish Lake Country, a region defined by more than 55,000 lakes that dot a forest-covered plateau, including a UNESCO Global Geopark. The region’s gravel roads weave around the lakes and make for endless route combinations.
The inaugural FNLD GRVL will offer two routes of differing lengths, as well as a 20k Euro pro prize purse. Organizers expect to attract more than 1500 gravel riders from around the world, who will be offered a full weekend of activities and entertainment.
With Lahti being the 2021 Green Capital of Europe, some of the event's emphasis and advocacy efforts will be made around environmental sustainability and climate change.
“Lahti shares so many similarities with Steamboat Springs and what we feel has made SBT GRVL successful: incredible scenery, endless gravel roads, and a community that understands hospitality and infrastructure for hosting a major sporting event,” said Amy Charity.
Registration will open in the fall of 2022.
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