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Olivia Ray 'still waiting' for $15,000 winner's prize for Into The Lion’s Den Criterium

Into The Lion’s Den criterium
Into The Lion’s Den criterium (Image credit: Kit Karzen)

Olivia Ray (Rally Cycling) confirmed that she has not received the prize money owed to her for winning the elite women’s race at the inaugural Into The Lion’s Den Criterium that was held in Sacramento on October 30.

In an email Cyclingnews and in a post on Twitter Tuesday, the criterium national champion from New Zealand stated that she is 'still waiting' for the official $15,000 winner's prize cheque.

"It just seems odd that the prize list was known and the huge hype of the huge $100k payout, split equally was promoted so heavily. To have not heard anything since the race, nor receiving the cheques, it is a little questionable," Ray told Cyclingnews.

"Though we were not promised a specific time frame in which we would receive the cash, no outreach from the organizer or even Legion [of Los Angeles] on the subject has happened."

Cyclingnews understands that other riders are still waiting to be paid prizes by the promoter of the event.

The inaugural Into The Lion's Den Criterium was billed as one of the richest criteriums in US history offering a whopping $100,000 prize purse.

Organisers offered $40,000 for 70 minutes of racing for both the men's and women's pro fields. Prize payouts were paid out equally from first through tenth place with the winners of each field earning $15,000. 

Prizes also included a total of $10,000 in mid-race primes that were split evenly at $5,000 between the men's and women's races. Each event offered five mid-race primes that ranged from $1,000 to $3,000.

Cyclingnews reached a member of the L39ION's team's management. They said that "they expected the payments to riders to be made this week."

Ray won the women's race ahead of US criterium champion Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles) and Amy Pieters (Team SD Worx). Justin Williams (L39ION of Los Angeles) won the men's race ahead of Luke Lamperti (Trinity Racing) and Cory Williams (L39ION of Los Angeles).

Ray confirmed to Cyclingnews that neither she nor Rally Cycling's management has received the payouts and that they would have typically expected to receive such payments within a week of a criterium.

Rally Cycling team's management has reached out to the organisers at Into The Lion's Den Criterium to request a timeline for payment, however, the response was inconclusive as to when they could expect to receive cheques.

Ray published a new statement on Twitter following the publication of this story on Wednesday.

"I recently made comments online about the Into the Lion's Den payout that were inexcusable and uncalled for. My lack of judgment and choice to speak out when I had no cause to do so got the better of me," Ray wrote.

"I am deeply, deeply sorry for damaging the name of not only the @in2thelionsden event but also heavily disheartened by the backlash it has caused @l39ionla, a team I have the utmost respect for.

"They put together a truly spectacular event. For me to disregard that, and to speak so immaturely was selfish. I showed a severe lack of responsibility for myself, and what I stand for. This has been a real wake-up call for me about how I should act moving forward.

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