L39ION of Los Angeles triumphed in the opening night of racing at Tulsa Tough as Justin Williams won the pro men's race, Skylar Schneider won the pro women's race and Ama Nsek won the men's category 1-2 event at the Blue Dome District Criterium on Friday.
"Proud doesn’t describe the feelings I have in this moment. We have built something great against all odds. Our sport can change lives, communities, and the world; It’s for everyone. We are here to inspire people and give them something to belong to, I think we’re nailing it!" Justin Williams wrote in an post on his Instagram feed on Friday.
Tulsa Tough is the second round of the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour, following the Armed Forces Cycling Classic last weekend. It is a three-day event that began at the Blue Dome District Criterium on Friday night, and the racing resumes at the Tulsa Arts District Criterium on Saturday and concludes at the River Parks Criterium on Sunday.
The racing kicked off with Nsek taking the victory ahead of Jacob Lasley (Team Soundpony) and Logan Grace (Vol Gas Racing).
"It's the first race of our summer block, I didn't really know what to expect, but we ended up being able to take some control of the race. It was three of us, myself, my brother Imeh and CJ. There were a bunch of breaks and attacks going off the front but it came back together. My brother gave me a crazy good lead out with two corners to go. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend," Nsek said in a team press release.
Schneider then took the victory in the Pro 1-2 women's event, winning the bunch sprint ahead of Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling) while her L39ION of Los Angeles teammate Kendall Ryan finished third. The women's team was joined by guest rider Julyn Aguila.
"It's really special to be here tonight and see all the L39ION shirts and flags around the course and feel the support from the crowd, that gave us a lot of momentum on the last lap, just hearing everyone screaming for us. We had a plan and everything worked according to the plan. It's not often that happens like that, just because there are a lot of factors that come into play, but tonight it all worked! It feels really good to finish the job after Kendall put in such a strong lead-out. I'm looking forward to the next two days defending the overall leader's jersey," Schneider said.
Justin and Cory Williams capped off a successful night of racing finishing 1-2 in the Pro 1 men's race, while Daniel Estevez (Best Buddies) finished third.
"Tonight was an amazing ride. We had the pressure on us after watching Ama and Skylar win, we just had to get the job done. We came ready to play, we rode the front the entire race and still had the legs to hold everybody off at the end. We could not ask for a better ride from the guys. Super proud of everyone in the staff for taking care of us, and hopefully the legs are just as good tomorrow," said Cory Williams.
Justin Williams, Schneider, and Nsek are now leading the three-race series ahead of the second night of racing at the Tulsa Arts District Criterium on Saturday.
L39ION of Los Angeles will be supporting FC Tulsa’s Greenwood Ave. with a patch placed on their right arm sleeves. The Greenwood Ave. patch initiative commemorates and pays respects to the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre on this 100th anniversary. Greenwood Ave celebrates Black entrepreneurship in Tulsa and around the world.
"One hundred years after the tragedy of Black Wall Street, we are blessed with the opportunity to represent the idea of black ownership.L39ION of Los Angeles is a symbol of the vision O.W. Gurley & J.B. Stradford had when helping to build the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This year we are blessed with the opportunity to wear a Greenwood patch on our race jerseys at Tulsa Tough; our intentions are to honor those who lost their lives for picking themselves up from nothing with all odds stacked against them," said Justin Williams in a team press release.
After hearing about FC Tulsa’s Greenwood patch initiative which raises Black entrepreneurs and celebrates the past, present and future of Greenwood, Williams and L39ION of Los Angeles immediately purchased 20 patches. Not only will L39ION wear the patches this weekend at Tulsa Tough, but Williams and his team will feature them throughout the 2021 cycling season.
"When we think about Tulsa, we think about what could have been. A community full of opportunities for minorities that was uprooted by hate and ignorance. We are proud to elevate and support @gwd.ave in its quest to help Black Wall Street thrive again and the ideology of Black ownership," said Cory Williams.
Click through the gallery above to view L39ION of Los Angeles in action at the Blue Dome District Criterium, and watch live streaming of the Tulsa Arts District Criterium on Saturday on the Tulsa Tough event website.
A photo posted by on
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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