A new track cycling league will take off in the US this year as the World Cycling League is set to debut March 18-19 at the Velo Sports Center indoor velodrome in Carson, California.
The brainchild of former Philadelphia International Cycling Classic organizer Dave Chauner, the newly formed league will offer a different business model to professional cycling that what has been offered in the past.
For its debut, the World Cycling League, the first independently owned and funded indoor track cycling organization, will feature six franchise teams from the US, Mexico and Ireland.
The California Wave, Colorado Cyclones, Pennsylvania Lightning, Connecticut Nor’Easters, Dublin Thunder and Mexico Heat will each field teams of four men and three women who will compete in three “Team Trak” sessions over two days.
Each performance will feature 12 high-speed races, seven for men and five for women, on the wooden velodrome at the VELO Sports Center. Races will be as short as two laps for sprinters and up to 40 laps for endurance riders. Each of the six teams will field from one to four riders in each TeamTrak race with up to 24 riders on the track at once. All events will be mass-start races.
“We’ve taken the most exciting velodrome cycling events and engaged world-class track cyclists to create a fast moving program full of color, excitement and displays power and endurance,” said Chauner, who is the league’s CEO and principal developer. “We’ve added lights, music, combined men’s and women’s teams and real-time scoring for added fan and television appeal.”
League Competition Director Marty Nothstein, who won Olympic gold at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia, said the WCL provides a fresh approach to tack cycling.
“WCL’s commitment to build an exciting and innovative league structure is exactly what the sport needs,” he said.
In the WCL Team Trak format, riders score points for their team in each race during the meet with point scores and team standings posted on the arena scoreboard in real time.
WCL also plans to add relatively new technology that will eventually include on-board cameras and transponders that download real time data from the riders like pedaling cadence, power output and heart-rate to the in-house scoreboard and personal communication devices.
Organizers are currently working with other US outdoor velodromes to construct temporary “bubbles” covers, while long-term plans for the league include expansion into some of the world’s 80 permanent indoor velodromes now in 30 countries.
Most indoor velodromes host active cycling programs centered around Olympic development events that have limited fan appeal other than to hardcore cycling enthusiasts, according to organizers. The WCL hopes to change that.
Currently the WCL is sanctioned as an invitational event to qualified track cyclists by USA Cycling, the official governing body of cycling in the US.
Organizers said team rosters and logos will be released beginning January 25. The rosters will include an international mix of world-class cyclists of Olympic, world and national-champion levels from more than 10 nations.