Justin Williams’ Into the Lion’s Den announces 14 city-based teams

Riders to race with their names and numbers on the backs of their jerseys.

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On the heels of announcing a $100,000 prize purse, the Into the Lion’s Den criterium in Sacramento, California today announced its line-up of 14 men’s teams that are based on location, not sponsors like traditional teams. Each rider at the October 30 race will have a jersey with their name and number on it, like a jersey from most other professional sports.

“Racers will have an opportunity to compete for the largest equal prize purse in U.S. crit history,” said Justin Williams, founder of the event and L39ION of Los Angeles, which will field two teams. “Fans will witness a new format of racing in the men’s race. We’re testing out city teams to create allegiances between fans and their communities. Fans will be able to cheer on teams from their cities or hometowns, just like they do with football and baseball. Plus, they will be able to identify their favorite riders by seeing their last names and team number across their entire backs, just like basketball.”

Rahsaan Bahati, a 10-time U.S. national champion and founder of the Bahati Foundation, is the team director for the Compton Team.“The city team format will create a unique bond between fans, teams and riders,” Bahati said. “I think Into the Lion’s Den is going to develop fans through community pride and inspire the next generation by showcasing their local heroes.”


CAL Team California
COMPTON Bahati Foundation
GOLDEN STATE Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator
L39ION 1 L39ION of Los Angeles I
L39ION 2 L39ION of Los Angeles II
LABC Los Angeles Bicycle Club
LONG BEACH Methods to Winning
MIAMI Miami Blazers
SAC Voler Factory Cycling Team
SANTA MONICA Santa Monica Subaru Racing
SOUTH FLORIDA Aminorip Factory Racing Team

Full team rosters will be announced the week of October 25.

Tokyo Olympian Gavin Hoover will be among those racing.

“I was planning on track worlds being the beginning of a heavy winter track schedule in Europe, but the opportunity to be part of this event and get one more go on the road after a diminished season is something I couldn’t pass up,” Hoover said. “I’ve grown up racing Justin and Cory in Los Angeles, so coming here and representing the amazing scene that is Southern California cycling through the SoCal Composite team is a huge honor.”

“I love high-intensity, action-packed crit racing and believe no one does it better than SoCal. I can’t wait to show that at Into the Lion’s Den,” Hoover said. “Representing the community that taught me to race my bike, the big prize purse, and what this race means for the sport in the U.S., made it a must for me.”

The women’s field will be announced on October 21.

The course will be on Sacramento’s Capitol grounds on October 30, with an open amateur race in the afternoon followed by the pro women’s race and then the pro men’s race.

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