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Two of criterium’s racing most prominent squads have announced that they won’t be participating in the National Cycling League’s inaugural NCL Cup, a new four-race crit series to debut in Miami on April 8.
“L39ION of Los Angeles will not be participating in the NCL, but we’re glad to see the investment in American cycling and share the desire to increase participation and grow our sport,” said Hunter Grove, L39ION’s team manager. “We look forward to sharing more shortly about our exciting plans for 2023 and beyond.”
From across the country, Dennis Ramirez, the manager of the Miami Blazer largely echoed Grove.
“The Miami Blazers have no plans on participating in NCL races,” he said. “We wish the best for them and all participating riders, and look forward to our upcoming race season.”
VeloNews asked for further comment on the decisions, and according to James Nixon of Nixon & Friends Media Relations,”in the near future Justin [Williams, co-founder of L39ION of Los Angeles] plans to share very exciting news which will provide greater context for the decision.”
The NCL first made headlines last August, when it was announced that serial entrepreneur Paris Wallace and NFL agent David Mulugheta were co-founding the new cycling venture, backed by multiple non-endemic investors, including NFL players Jalen Ramsey (Los Angeles Rams), Derwin James (Los Angeles Chargers), and Kevin Byard (Tennessee Titans).
“Our mission is to create the next generation sports community by reimagining sports ownership, fan participation, and social impact,” Wallace said in August.
The league debuted with several bold pronouncements for its future, notably that it would commit to gender parity in pay and resources for its riders, as well as pioneer technology that would make its races engaging and interesting to watch.
In December, the NCL announced the rosters for its two in-house squads, the Denver Disruptors and Miami Nights. Those teams would receive automatic entry to the NCL Cup, a four-race series that begins April 8 in Miami, and continues with racing in Atlanta on May 14, Denver on August 13, and culminates in Washington D.C. on September 10.
According to the league, the NCL Cup events will feature an innovative competition format where men and women compete on the same team on the same course. Fans will have access to in-race data through the NCL’s scoreboard, a first in professional criterium racing.
Furthermore, the series has a $1 million prize purse.
The NCL planned to invite eight other teams to join the Denver Disruptors and Miami Nights in the NCL Cup, although the league has not yet announced which squads it selected.