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Top Changes to 2024 Life Time Grand Prix: Decluttering Mass Starts and Rewarding Podium Riders

The third season of the Life Time Grand Prix off-road series kicks off this Friday at Fuego XL 100k, introducing standardized rules and points modifications across all seven events.

The most notable changes for the series include adjustments in mass starts and alterations to the points system. The opening round will take place in Monterey, California, featuring an endurance cross-country mountain bike race at Life Time Sea Otter Classic.

Life Time is the proprietor of the US-based Life Time Grand Prix series and the seven MTB and gravel events. The top 10 elite men and elite women, selected from a field of 60 riders by invitation only, will compete for prizes. Michelle Duffy, Life Time’s senior marketing director for events and retail marketing, mentioned that athletes were actively involved in the decision-making process for the 2024 changes.

“We’ve identified areas for improvement as we enter the third year of the series. This is reflected in the new rule adjustments and points modifications. We aim to maintain consistency in certain aspects such as the event schedule,” Duffy explained in an interview with Cyclingnews.

Regarding scoring, a new model has been implemented where podium finishers receive bonus points. The podium now consists of the top five finishers, with first through fifth place separated by two-point increments, while sixth through 30th place earn points on a sliding one-point scale.

The introduction of separate starts for elite men and women at all events is a significant change. This adjustment aims to provide elite women with their own race without the interference of amateur riders starting shortly behind them.

Selection for the 60 spots in the field occurs annually in the fall. A new addition this year is the invitation extension to the top 15 finishers from the 2023 series who reapplied for the 2024 season. Criteria for selection in the invitation-only field now includes off-the-bike activities such as storytelling and fan engagement to contribute to the growth of cycling.

Furthermore, Life Time is offering additional resources to its elite field this year, focusing on personal branding assistance and content development.

The company is also working on enhancing real-time storytelling to build a stronger fan base for the sport. While live streaming remains a challenge due to remote race locations, Life Time is exploring alternative methods such as post-race highlight videos to engage viewers.

In an effort to create a more immersive experience for fans, Life Time experimented with short live broadcasts on social media platforms last year. The company aims to produce content that is easily accessible to all viewers, maintaining a cost-free viewing experience to promote the Life Time brand and inspire cyclists of all levels.

Certain rules from the previous season, such as the elimination of bar extensions for pro riders and random doping controls at all events, will continue to be enforced for the upcoming season.