Austrian cyclist Verena Eberhardt — pictured racing at a velodrome in 2018 — is on the Miami Nights team of the National Cycling League. Photo: Dan Istitene/Getty Images
A new professional cycling league is trying to revolutionize the sport with co-ed teams and closed-circuit course races through major cities, starting in Miami Beach.
What’s happening: The National Cycling League announced on Tuesday its inaugural race will take place in Miami Beach on April 8, followed by races later this spring and fall in Atlanta, Denver and Washington, DC
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.
zoom in: Our team, the Miami Nights, is made up of eight cyclists from across the globe, and several Olympians.
What they’re saying: The race supports Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber’s vision for transforming the city’s Art Deco District — known for wild partying — with activities that focus on exercise and wellness.
- “As we continue to transform the Art Deco District with world class programming, I’m confident this fast-paced sport will resonate with our vibrant cycling community and continue the progress we have made to make Miami Beach more livable and bikeable,” Gelber said in a statement.
What’s next: The league aims to expand to eight additional cities in 2024.