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National Cycling League announces $1 million prize purse and 2023 host cities

The high-tech crit series will showcase 10 teams — two its own — racing in the real world and virtually.

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The National Cycling League, crit racing’s newest kid on the block, announced the host cities and prize purse for the 2023 season.

The NCL is putting $1 million up for grabs next year, and 10 teams will be able to compete for the purse in four NCL invitational races in Miami, Atlanta, Denver, and Washington D.C.

The NCL was launched in August, with claims to be a revolutionary new player in professional cycling, “one that embraces technology, diverse ownership, gender equity, sustainability, and community investment.”

It was co-founded by serial entrepreneur Paris Wallace and NFL agent David Mulugheta. 

In addition to hosting the four invitational races, the NCL is creating two 16-rider teams that will compete in all four races. According to the league, “the roster will include Olympians, national champions, former WorldTour racers, and top professional and development riders from multiple cycling disciplines.”

Eight other teams will compete in the invitational series, and in order to qualify they must be registered as USA Cycling Domestic Elite, UCI Continental, UCI ProTeam, or UCI WorldTeams.

Each team must submit a set roster of at least six men and six women who will race all four NCL invitationals.

“The biggest stages draw the brightest stars,” said league co-founder David Mulugheta.

“The cycling talent is out there, and there are great athletes and big stories yet to be discovered. With today’s announcement of an historic prize purse coupled with the decision to host public races on city streets, professional cycling is poised to achieve levels of inclusion and community integration that stadium leagues can only dream of. We’re building the stage today for the superstars of tomorrow.”

The NCL touts financial equity as a core tenant, stating that women and men on NCL teams will receive equal salaries and equal resources. Furthermore, in addition to the overall series prize purse of $1 million, each of the four NCL invitationals will also offer individual prize purses.

“Creating the next generation sports community starts with valuing the athletes and their contributions to the fan experience,” said co-founder Paris Wallace.

“The $1 million purse is just one component of a comprehensive infrastructure designed to equitably support and reward top male and female professional athletes. But ultimately, sports leagues thrive by enthralling audiences, and the NCL’s team structure, new competition format, and innovative in-race technologies create excitement, non-stop action, and genuine connections between athletes and fans.”

According to its founders, the NCL was designed with a fan experience at its core. Fans will be able to participate virtually alongside pros while they’re racing. A platform will share athlete performance via wearable technology to further the league’s goal of existing simultaneously in both the real and virtual worlds. 

Information and rider application for both the NCL squads and the eight outside teams are available on the National Cycling League website.