Justin Williams signs to become a Red Bull athlete

The US crit racer is taking cycling in a new direction with his team L39ion of LA 

(Image credit: AARON BLATT)

Justin Williams has officially signed as a Red Bull athlete, joining a list of stars in the elite sporting world. 

The US-based crit racer is embarking on a new mission in cycling with his own team L39ion of Los Angeles in the hopes of making cycling more accessible to under-represented groups. 

Williams’ team - pronounced Legion of LA - joined the UCI Continental ranks in December 2020 with 10 riders on the roster, including his brother Cory. 

Former national criterium champion Williams is now supported by energy drink company Red Bull, who already sponsors a number of big names in cycling including Wout van Aert, Tom Pidcock, Evie Richards and mountain biker Kate Courtney. 

In an interview with Red Bull (opens in new tab), Williams said: “I’ve basically stopped doing interviews on being black in cycling: I’ve been black my whole life.

“I want more diversity, but I care about changing the sport for everyone, moving the sport forward, trying to make things better for everyone. That’s the story I want to tell.”

“I was super fortunate to have some people of colour as really good mentors in cycling, people like Rahsaan Bahati.

“I had a few historic black role models in the sport to look to, people like Major Taylor, taking it way back, and Nelson Vails, but a lot of my heroes were outside of cycling: Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Lewis Hamilton.”

After most of his own racing season was cancelled due to coronavirus last year, Williams plans to race in the Pro Criterium at the US National Championships, being held in Knoxville, Tennessee in June.

>>> Wout van Aert extends contract with Jumbo-Visma 

 He added: “For some people that are still not understanding that change is coming, it’s happening.

“Let’s do it! I’ve really got plans. There’s so much stuff I can’t wait to kick off. I’m super grateful and so happy. I’m ready to get to work.”    

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.