Justin Williams announces CRIT racing series - North American Roundup
“The future of cycling” is coming later this year in the form of the Circuit Racing International Tour, or CRIT, according to Justin Williams, founder of Williams Racing Development and sprint captain of the L39ION of Los Angeles team.
Williams announced today the formation of a new racing league, which will be funded by Wasserman Ventures, a new division of the talent agency Wasserman which has represented the L39ION rider for the past five years. According to a press release, CRIT events will be held in major markets at “iconic mainstream sport venues”.
The new sports division will be led by Darren Ross, executive vice president and managing director at Wasserman, who explained in an interview with Forbes that the agency was looking to expand into new leagues, special events and technology around the fan experience. CRIT is their initial foray into a sports league, which is expected to launch later in 2023 with three races. No venues or dates were disclosed at this time.
“CRIT is the culmination of a lifetime of dedication and passion to the sport of cycling, and is our shared vision for what the future of cycling can look like,” said Williams.
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“For years we’ve been striving to create an inclusive and competitive environment that brings out the best in people. We are building what we couldn’t find: a stage that welcomes riders from all walks of life, encourages competition at the highest level, and above all inspires the next generation of riders to ensure the legacy of our sport.”
In 2021, Williams won the men’s edition of Into the Lion’s Den criterium, at the time the richest one-day total prize purse for men and women in crit racing with $100,000 on offer. The event was organised by Williams and the L39ION organisation, held in October in Sacramento, California. The women’s race was won by Olivia Ray (Rally Cycling) just ahead of Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles).
In 2023, there are currently three race series operating which combine new or existing events with bonus prize purses for men and women on a national platform: American Criterium Cup, Speed Week, and National Cycling League. These are in addition to regional races with four or more consecutive days of events, such as the long-standing Tour of America’s Dairyland and The Gateway Cup.
North American women score 6 medals at Nations Cup
The women's North American teams came away with six medals from the third round of the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup, held in Milton, Ontario at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre from April 20-23. The host team scored a total of three, United States two and Mexico one.
Kelsey Mitchell, a gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in the Sprint, won a pair of medals in front of the home crowd last weekend, first with a come-from-behind performance in the women’s Sprint. She followed that with a silver medal in the Team Sprint with teammates Lauriane Genest and Sarah Orban. Mexico took the Team Sprint gold 0.413 seconds ahead of Canada with Luz Daniela Gaxiola Gonzalez, Jessica Salazar Valles and Yuli Verdugo Osuna.
The Canadian women also earned a bronze in the Team Pursuit after defeating the Team USA, the squad consisting of Sarah Van Dam, Maggie Coles-Lyster, Ariane Bonhomme and Erin Attwell.
“This gives us confidence. We’re a new team and since the Tokyo Games, we’ve been trying to rebuild our program,” Bonhomme said. “We knew we were capable of doing this but everything needed to come together on race day. We’ve been trying for more than a year and today everything worked out. We know that this is the start of something special.”
Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Valente captured two medals in Milton for the US women, the first a silver in the Elimination race on Friday. The next day she finished just two points behind Italy’s Elisa Balsamo to claim the bronze in the Omnium, which was won by a 21-point margin by Great Britain’s Katie Archibald.
Roxo Racing signs Canadian Nadia Gontova
Canadian Nadia Gontova has only been on the Roxo Racing team for a week and she has already proven the move up to the UCI Continental level was a good fit.
The Texas-based squad added Gontova to their roster ahead of the Tour of the Gila, April 26-30, where she finished third on the opening day of the five-day stage race on the brutal Mogollon mountaintop finish.
“Our DS’s and staff have keen eyes for talent. We watched Nadia ride away from the stacked field on the Oak Glen climb at Redlands. Add to that her phenomenal Zwift racing success, it’s an easy call to give athletes like Nadia a chance to progress toward the top level,” said Chann McRae, sports director and managing partner of Roxo Racing.
Gontova began the year in her second season with Red Truck Racing. She recently won stage 2 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California, accelerating on the final climb in cold and windy conditions for the big notch in her accomplishments. She would earn the leader’s yellow jersey for her ride and finish 15th overall at the end of the five-day stage race.
Before turning her focus to cycling, Gontova competed in rowing for the University of British Columbia, where she is soon to complete her degree in Integrated Science.