There are just under two months to go, and questions swirl about who will contend for the massive $1 million payout in the inaugural four-city National Cycling League (NCL). Only two teams are so far confirmed to line up at the opening criterium in Miami Beach, Florida, April 8, with eight more teams to be announced for the unique, invitation-only series.
The list of teams who have declined invitations is on the rise, L39ION of Los Angeles confirming today they will pass on the newly-launched four-city dash for cash series.
“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, team manager for L39ION of Los Angeles. “We look forward to sharing more shortly about our exciting plans for 2023 and beyond.”
L39ION of Los Angeles has been one of the most dominant US road racing squads the past two seasons with top results from both men’s and women’s squads. The team includes two-time women’s US Pro criterium national champion Kendall Ryan as well as former men’s crit champ Ty Magner and reigning US Pro men’s road race champion Kyle Murphy.
On the heels of the L39ION statement, the Miami Blazers confirmed they would also pass on the series. The Blazers are a US domestic elite men’s team led by Brandon Feehery, who dominated the American Criterium Cup series last year by winning the individual overall and sprint titles.
“The Miami Blazers have no plans on participating in NCL races. We wish the best for them and all participating riders, and look forward to our upcoming race season,” stated Dennis Ramirez, team manager for the Miami Blazers.
What seems to left many of the Continental and Domestic Elite teams across North America hesitant about participation are the requirements that a ‘team’ in the series must have both men’s and women’s riders, under one entity, and that the league also owns the teams, which is a new blueprint for the sport.
The two NCL-owned teams – Miami Nights and Denver Disruptors – are the only two confirmed teams for the series at this time, though a full lineup of 10 is expected to be announced.
One of the prominent Domestic Elite teams on the criterium circuit has been ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK, which fields programs for both men and women. They echoed concern over the league’s structure and have also not accepted an invitation to compete as yet.
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