Are 'fan first' spectator friendly crits the future for bike racing?

Two races in, we've seen how the new racing format stacks up to traditional races, and I'm hopeful

Scenes from the NCL Cup's second race in Denver, Colo, on August 13, 2023
(Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)

The National Cycling League (US), in its debut year, has already made serious waves in American cycling with its cohort of all-star investors and new, fan-first racing format.

The race format is unlike anything we're used to. These criterium-like races take place in spectator-friendly, urban centers where co-ed teams compete for points every single lap over the course of two races — a women's race and a men's race. Points aggregate from one race to the next, and the team that has amassed the most points at the end of the afternoon wins the race. Due to its high-pace nature, teams may substitute riders as often as they want. There are no individual winners, only a winning team. 

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