National Cycling League Readies US Crit Racing Series

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

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 centers around criterium, or “crit” racing, one of cycling’s fastest-growing disciplines. They’re races done on short tracks using fixed-gear bikes without breaks. Mass starts, powerful athletes, and lower barriers to entry lead to thrilling finishes.

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

The next big thing. Beyond providing more opportunity for wannabe racers, the NCL aims to create a highly marketable sports spectacle.

Riding the meteoric rise of Formula One, endurance races are courting new audiences. For instance, the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) is raising funding and signed a multi-year TV deal with Warner Bros Discovery to transform triathlons.

For the NCL, engaging 60M riders in the United States and over 2B worldwide represents a massive opportunity. And, while pro cycling races like the Tour de France might not have mass appeal in the US, a gritty national crit series could attract rabid fans and inspire new riders.

Looking ahead: Seeking sanctioning from USA Cycling (which just launched its own inaugural crit 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 one to watch.

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