Jan 31, 2023 - Things to Do

New pro cycling league race coming to Atlanta

NCL graphic

Credit: National Cycling League

A new professional cycling league is trying to revolutionize the sport with co-ed teams and closed-circuit course races through major cities, including Atlanta, Axios' Deirdre Funcheon reports.

What's happening: The National Cycling League announced on Tuesday its inaugural race will take place in Miami Beach on April 8.

  • Miami will be followed by Atlanta on May 14, Denver on Aug. 13, and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 10.

Why it matters: The NCL — which touts itself as the first professional sports league that is majority women- and minority-owned — will test out a new concept that aims to value and pay men and women equally, Forbes reports.

How it works: "Rather than the traditional 'first one to cross the finish line wins' approach, our scoring system is based on points, so each lap counts, and everyone can score," the NCL website explains.

  • Women and men compete on the same course, but separately at different times. At the end, their scores are combined as one team.
  • All NCL athletes are paid salaries in addition to their winnings at races.

Details: Races will be criterium-style (aka "crit races"), meaning they are loops, with multiple turns, through city streets — more Formula 1 than Tour de France.

  • Teams of six will do 30 laps around a closed 1- to 2-kilometer course at 30-45 mph.
  • Ten teams will compete to win the 2023 NCL Cup, which has a $1 million prize.

Of note: Guillermo Rojas, a spokesperson with the league, told Axios that Atlanta has no home team this year, but it hopes that will change in 2024.

What's next: Rojas told Axios the league aims to expand to eight additional cities in 2024.


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