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Virtual Echelon Racing League begins Friday with pro series

Farms and barns passed at Joe Martin Stage Race stage 3
The Joe Martin Stage Race is one of the US events on the Pro Road Tour each season (Image credit: Dejan Smaic / SportifImages)

Beginning Friday, the new virtual Echelon Racing League will launch its professional series, November 13-15, on the virtual RGT Cycling platform. The pro series offers 23 days of racing, while the Amateur Race Series for the league includes 11 races. Both offer points-based omnium for men and women.

The first pro event in the series is the RGT Cycling Real Roads Stage Race, opening Friday with a circuit race on the course used for the 2019 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships in southern California at Borrego Springs. Saturday uses the Belgian Paterberg circuit, which is part of Tour of Flanders, and Sunday is a stage up the infamous Stelvio Pass in Italy.

Races will be anywhere between 50 and 105 minutes. Start times will alternate between Men and Women each race weekend to provide equitable race and broadcast experiences.

The first of 11 races in the amateur series was held November 7, using the Paterberg circuit. The top 10 finishers in the Men’s and Women’s Cat 1 races have been invited to compete in this weekend’s professional races.

Echelon Racing Promotions and the US-registered Project Echelon Domestic Elite Team are working in partnership with USA Cycling to host the Echelon Racing League Amateur Series.

“We are supporting this to help benefit our members, teams and races during this period when COVID has impacted all of our ability to conduct in real life events. The racing league is not a direct revenue generator for USA Cycling, but rather a way to keep people engaged in our sport,” said USA Cycling’s Chief of Racing and Events Chuck Hodge. 

“We have helped to leverage some partnerships we have in place, and of course the league involves teams and races who we work with in real life. We are happy to support this initiative between all of the partners involved.

In the pro series many of the stages are borrowed from events that have been on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, such as Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race, Bucks County Classic, Armed Forces Cycling Classic, Gateway Cup and Redlands Bicycle Classic. 

“The league is certainly a way to showcase the PRT races which are taking part, and will serve the same function for the teams and sponsors who participate,” added Hodge.

All events will be held on the RGT Cycling virtual platform, available for iPad, PC, Mac and Apple TV and is free to use with a basic account, limiting the barriers to entry. 

Races will also be broadcast by ZMS Live Stream on the Echelon Racing League web site, echelonracingleague.com, and USA Cycling social media channels.

The live streams will feature interviews of riders and race promoters, with production managed by Brad Sohner. He will also share race commentary duties with RGT Cycling’s James Vickers.

“Professional and elite cycling is only as strong as its community and fan base. We want to help grow and foster a stronger community so that all stakeholders in cycling can benefit,” said Eric Hill, president and founder of the Echelon Racing League. 

"We look forward to using the ever-growing and innovative platform provided to us by esports and virtual racing to enhance the visibility, scalability, and sustainability of cycling for all our stakeholders. Cycling has a rich and enduring tradition that we want to see live on, we are just adding a different perspective to it to help reach new demographics and ensure a stronger future."

In addition to top amateurs receiving invitations to the pro series events, Hill noted that a para-cycling category will be part of the Tour of America’s Dairyland virtual races, since the 11-day cycling series in Wisconsin has hosted the Para-Cycling Criterium National Championship in the past.

Echelon Racing League – Pro Race Series

  • November 13-15 RGT Cycling Real Roads Stage Race
  • December 4-6 Tour of the Gila
  • December 19-20 Bucks County Classic, Armed Forces Cycling Classic
  • January 2-3 Gateway Cup
  • January 22-24 Redlands Bicycle Classic
  • February 5-7 Joe Martin Stage Race
  • February 19-21 Green Mountain Stage Race
  • March 11-14 Tour of America’s Dairyland