After a 4-month wait, the NCL continues in Denver this weekend - here's what to expect

Will we see another Disruptor's Domination or will another team step up?

NCL Cup race opener
(Image credit: Gabriel Diaz)

After a four-month wait and some behind-the-scenes turmoil, the second race of the inaugural National Cycling League series is finally here. Cycling's freshest series will continue in Denver, Colorado, where 10 co-ed teams will be taking on a fast and furious 1.4-mile lap around the Dicks Sporting Goods Stadium. With eight corners, a long start and finishing straight, 60 point-scoring laps to conquer, it will surely be a n aggressive, action-packed race.

The first race of the NCL Cup took place amid much fan-fare on April 8, at Miami Beach. The Denver Disruptors took an emphatic win scoring 138 points between the men's and women's squads. The Miami Nights, the other NCL team-founded team, took second with 93 points, and the Goldman Sachs ETF/Texas Roadhouse team took home third with 29 points. 

There was a big points discrepancy between the top two teams and the rest of the field; none of the other teams cracked 30 points, with several of the bottom teams scoring less than 10 points. While the NCL teams had run practice races at training camps earlier in the season, the race's unique format took some adjusting to for the other teams. Now that all teams have had a chance to experience and practice the points-style racing, we hope to see a bit more competition from the non-NCL teams.

NCL Cup Race #2: Denver

Scenes from the 2023 Miami Inventional: A Fount Cycling and Denver Disruptors rider battle it out in the qualifier

A Fount Cycling and Denver Disruptors rider battle it out in the qualifier at the series opener

(Image credit: Gabriel Diaz)

The second race in the three-race series will take place in Denver, Colorado, home turf of the Denver Disruptors. 

The race weekend will kick off on Saturday, August 12, with a qualifier event at Woods Boss Brewing Company using the KICKR indoor bikes. The virtual race qualifier determines the grid start order of the teams on Sunday for the pro race, similar to an F1 starting grid. The further up the grid, the better for the teams, as starting at the front of the pack is a significant advantage.

Race days consist of a 60-lap road criterium in which team points are scored each and every lap. It’s a team sport; there is no individual rider who wins. A co-ed team competition, the first 30 laps are contested by the teams' female riders. The second 30 laps make up the men's race. While the men's and women's field race separately, the points are aggregated. The team's points are a combination of both the men's and women's races and the team with the most points at the end of the evening wins the bike race.  

While the NCL Cup was initially meant to be a four-race series, a cancellation brought the series down to just three races with the series finale now taking place next week, August 20, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Contenders

Scenes from the 2023 Miami Inventional, the inaugural National Cycling League.

The Denver Disruptors dominated the series opener

(Image credit: Gabriel Diaz)

There are 10 co-ed teams that compete in every race in the series. Some are co-ed programs, others are collaborations between exciting men's and a women's team.  

The two NCL-founded teams, the Denver Disruptors and Miami Nights, have had a standout season outside of the NCL series, taking several high-profile wins and earning themselves a spot among the top criterium teams in the country. With riders like Leah Kirchmann, Riley Sheehan and Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, the Disruptors have all the firepower they need to take a second win in the NCL Cup series. But Miami also has a stacked team with the Likes of Clever Martinez and Alfredo Rodriguez on their men's roster and Andrea Cyr, the current American Criterium Cup overall leader, on their women's team.

The CCB women's team comes off successful U.S. road nationals with two jerseys followed by a successful  block of racing in Belgium. They will undoubtedly be looking to roll that form over to this race. Fount Cycling had several top twenty results at the U.S. national championships and, with some strong riders, could be looking for more at the end of the season.

Several of the teams were competing at the recent Intelligentsia Cup, including Texas Roadhouse, with Fergus Arthur grabbing a top ten, and Primeau Velo, both fighting for top placings in the 10-day series in Chicago, and will be bringing that hard-earned criterium prowess to the NCL cup race.

The Kelly Benefits team came close to the podium at elite nationals, with Liam Flanagan, former U23 criterium national champion taking sixth in the road race. Their team will be looking to grab some points this weekend.

Team Mikes Bikes had strong showings in the U23 criterium nationals, with two young riders making it onto the podium with Gavin Hlady taking second and Sean Stratchen finding fourth on the day. They could make an impact with solid support from the more experienced riders on the team.

The Teams:

CCB p/b Levine Law Group paired with Foundation Cycling New York

Denver Disruptors

Fount Cycling

Goldman Sachs EFTS Racing paired with Texas Roadhouse Cycling p/d VQ Labs

Kelly Benefits Cycling paired with Primeau Velo Racing

Miami Nights

Monarch racing paired with Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffee

Roxo Racing paired with Voler Factory racing

Team Skyline

Team Suprabars.com

What's up for grabs

Scenes from the 2023 Miami Inventional, the inaugural National Cycling League.

(Image credit: Gabriel Diaz)

From the inception of the series, the NCL offered a 1-million-dollar prize purse, including a $700,000 prize if one team could sweep all four events and a $100,000 prize if a team managed to win three of the four races. 

With the cancellation of its fourth race, the grand prize is no longer up for grabs, but the League confirmed with Cycling Weekly that teams will still compete for the end-of-season $130,000 Cup Bonus prize, separate from the $30,000 prize purse for each race. Additionally, the team that wins the overall will receive $45,000 USD, with the next-placed teams receiving smaller amounts.

Where to Watch

The Denver and Atlanta races will be streamed live on GCN+.

Also Read:

- Is the National Cycling League in trouble already?

- A cancelled race and new CEO - big changes at the National Cycling League after just one race

- The National Cycling League made its anticipated debut over the weekend, but were we entertained?

- Denver Disruptors dominate National Cycling League debut race

- Fan-first, gamified bike racing: the NCL readies for its debut as domestic teams get on board

- L39ION of LA and The Miami Blazers have no intention to partake in the National Cycling League

- The newly formed National Cycling League: a gimmick or the future of American bike racing?

- The National Cycling League announces its first teams, stacked with internationally known talent

- NBA All-Star Bradley Beal and NFL pros pump $7.5m into the new US cycling league

- The National Cycling League announces a $1 Million dollar prize purse

- Inaugural US National Cycling League could see fans virtually racing the pros in 2023

- Why American cycling needs a new Greg Lemond or - whisper it - Lance Armstrong

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