Ten co-ed teams of professional cyclists, including one of NCL's own teams, the Denver Disruptors—winners of the NCL’s first-ever race in Miami Beach on April 8—will compete in the criterium-style race circuit around Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home to Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Colorado Rapids, for their share of $1 million in total prize money at the conclusion of the season.
The course features a 1.2-mile, four corner circuit that starts and finishes at East 59th Place and Valentia Street, at the south end of the stadium. The men’s race will begin at 2:30 p.m. and the women’s race will start at 4 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
“With more than 50 million cyclists in the U.S., we have an opportunity to grow the passion and excitement for cycling among the next generation of fans by introducing them to the fast-paced action and excitement of criterium racing and creating a league format similar to other professional sports,” said Andrea Pagnanelli, CEO of National Cycling League. “NCL’s first-ever race in April in Miami was wildly successful, and we look forward to showcasing our league, teams and athletes to fans in Denver this August.”
NCL races are sanctioned by USA Cycling and feature an innovative competition format in which men and women compete on the same team, on the same course, in a way that respects their differences yet weighs their performances and values their contributions equally. Fans also have access to real-time data and scoring through the NCL's scoreboard, a first in professional criterium racing.
Men and women riders compete separately in roughly 30-lap, approximate 1-mile criterium loops and accumulate points. Riders can substitute in and out anytime during each race’s first 25 laps from the course-side Team Pit. Team points are earned each lap depending on riders’ positions.
The Denver Disruptors, coached by Svein Tuft, feature elite riders and former Olympians and Tour de France participants from 10 countries, including two-time Olympian Leah Kirchman, and six-time Tour de France participant Reinardt Janse van Rensburg.
Tuft raced professionally for 20 years and is an 11-time national champion. He won a silver medal in the individual time trial at the 2008 World Championships in Varese, Italy, and finished seventh in the individual time trial at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In addition to the NCL Cup, the Disruptors also compete in the American Crit Circuit and other road and stage races throughout the year.
Pre-race events taking place August 12-13 ahead of the Denver race include live race qualifying via a virtual time trial of the course on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 5-7 p.m. at event partner Left Hand Brewing’s RiNo location, located at 4180 Wynkoop St., Suite 140 in Denver. The qualifying event is free, and fans are encouraged to attend to enjoy the action as well as craft beer and food.
Other festivities include kids and amateur races, a street festival and expo featuring food trucks, vendors and interactive experiences for all.
Race attendance, parking and bike valet are free and open to the public. A limited number of VIP Hospitality start/finish line tickets are also available for purchase and offer preferred seating and all-inclusive food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. For more information, visit nclracing.com/races/2/2023-08-13/denver-colorado.
Those interested in volunteer opportunities during the NCL Cup Denver race are encouraged to visit nclracing.com/get-involved.
Remaining races in the NCL’s inaugural series include NCL Cup Atlanta on August 20 and The Finals in Washington, D.C. on September 17.
About National Cycling League
Founded in 2022, the National Cycling League (NCL) is revolutionizing professional cycling into a world-class spectator sport. The NCL is the first majority women- and minority-owned league and the first gender-equal professional sport, where men and women compete on the same team and contribute to the scoreboard equally. The 2023 NCL Cup is a series of four professional criterium races in iconic cities across the United States: Miami Beach, Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Professional teams will compete in the NCL Cup's 4-race series for the chance to win a $1 million series purse to be split equally among men and women. For more information, visit NCLRacing.com