Top Finishes for SA’s Beers & Benkenstein at Unbound


Considered the the World’s Premier Gravel Event, Lifetime Unbound Gravel offers a number of distances, from the XL (350 miles) to the 25 mile option. Situated in the region of Kansas, USA called the Flint Hills, the event has been attracting cyclists from around the globe since its founding in 2006. The 2024 iteration took place this past weekend, and two South Africans made the great trek to participate.

Kevin Benkenstein finished an incredible 5th place in the 350-miler.

“It was far from perfect”

“It was far from perfect,” said Benkinstein via his IG feed, “and I can openly say that I made mistakes but I learn from those mistakes. My legs and head were the strongest they have been by some margin if I’m honest. I hope this isn’t it for me, that I race some more big ones and get to use use what I’ve learned.”

Matt Beers finished in 13th in the 200, just five minutes behind the leader. He is currently lying third in Life Time Grand Prix standings. Below is what he had to say about the race.


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The Winners

The Life Time Unbound Gravel 200 saw thrilling victories as Lachlan Morton (EF Education-EasyPost) and Rosa Maria Klöser (Rose Bikes) conquered the demanding Flint Hills of Kansas. Australian cyclist Morton clinched his first men’s race win after a daring breakaway, while German Ph.D. student Klöser stunned the field with a dramatic sprint finish to secure the women’s title.

In the men’s race, Denmark’s Tobias Kongstad (PAS Racing) initiated an early attack, setting the pace for an intense 200-mile chase. As the race progressed, notable riders, including defending Life Time Grand Prix champion Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz), UCI Gravel World champion Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorius), and Olympic gold medalist Greg Van Avermaet (Last Dance), pushed the tempo. However, Morton’s strategic move at the 150-mile mark, following Chad Haga’s (PAS Racing) attack, defined the race. The duo maintained their lead, with Morton ultimately out-sprinting Haga to cross the finish line first. Kongstad finished a commendable third, three minutes behind the leaders. “It was a fast and hectic start. Once we got back to town it was always going to be a bit technical, but I was lucky that I’ve done this finish a couple of times and made those mistakes in the last races. To be honest, I thought a win here was kind of beyond me now. The levels continue to get higher, and I’m getting older. I’m just happy with how it went today.” said Morton, reflecting on his victory.

In the women’s race, the field saw a historic moment with an individual start time 15 minutes after the men and 25 minutes ahead of the amateurs. Rosa María Klöser’s victory was nothing short of remarkable. Despite encountering a crash that left her with a bloody left elbow, a flat tyre, and a challenging wheel change, Klöser persevered. She bridged a two-minute gap solo and emerged victorious in the largest sprint finish in the history of Unbound Gravel. She bested competitors, including SD-Worx’s Geerike Schreurs and Paige Onweller of Trek-Driftless, who finished second and third.

Klöser, still in disbelief, shared, “This was my first Unbound. I only started cycling a couple of years ago, and I’m still a full-time PhD student, so I cycle part-time. I still can’t believe I won!”

The race conditions were favorable, with dry, dusty roads and light winds allowing record-breaking average speeds. The men’s race averaged over 22 mph (35 kph), while the women’s race clocked in at 19.4 mph (31 kph).

The results have significantly changed the Life Time Grand Prix standings. Despite finishing 14th, Swenson retains his lead in the men’s overall standings with 59 points. Payson McElveen (Allied), now in second place with 58 points, finished eighth at Unbound. SA’s Matthew Beers (Specialized Off-Road) holds onto third place with 56 points.

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