National Cycling League Prepares US Crit Racing Series

A new sports league wants to shake up the world of cycling.

What it is: Promising record prize money, rule changes and equal pay for all riders, the NCL (National Cycling League) is set to launch next year.

The NCL is centered around criterium, or “critical” racing, one of the fastest growing disciplines in cycling. These are races that are done on short tracks with fixed-gear bikes without a break. Mass starts, strong athletes and low barriers to entry lead to thrilling finishes.

Reinventing these races, the NCL will support mixed teams, awarding lap points, creating high-paced, high-stakes spectator events in Miami, Denver, Atlanta and Chicago.

The next big thing. In addition to providing more opportunities for aspiring runners, the NCL aims to create a highly marketable sports spectacle.

Riding on the meteoric rise of Formula 1, endurance racing is courting new audiences. For example, the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) is raising funds and signed a multi-year TV deal with Warner Bros. Discovery to transform triathlons.

For the NCL, engaging 60 million runners in the United States and more than 2 billion worldwide represents a huge opportunity. And, while professional cycling races like the Tour de France might not have mass appeal in the United States, a serious national review series could attract rabid fans and inspire new riders.

Look forward: Seeking to be sanctioned by USA Cycling (which just launched its own inaugural review series this year) and receiving investment from Founder Collective, Collab Capital and a host of athlete-investors like Jalen Ramsey and Emmanuel Acho, its development is to monitor.

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