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Vollering, Labecki and Pieters confirmed for Into the Lion's Den criterium

Coryn Labecki of Team DSM at Giro
Coryn Labecki of Team DSM at Giro (Image credit: Getty Images)

US Olympians Coryn Labecki (née Rivera, Team DSM) and Lily Williams (Rally Pro Cycling) will face European foes from Amy Pieters and Demi Vollering (both Team SD Worx) as part of a star-studded elite women’s field for the inaugural Into the Lion’s Den on October 30 in Sacramento, California. 

Organisers revealed 17 teams which will field riders for the criterium, billed as one of the richest payouts for a one-day race in the US, a $100,000 prize purse to be split evenly between the elite women’s and men’s races.

Among the teams joining Rally Cycling, Team SD Worx and Team DSM on the start line will be LIV Racing, TWENTY24 Cycling Team and L39ION of Los Angeles. Full rosters will be announced October 29.

“I’m excited to show the world what U.S. crit racing is all about,” said Labecki, who finished in the top 10 of the women’s road race at the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

“My season was over after the Road World Championships but I added Into the Lion’s Den to my calendar because I grew up racing criteriums and want to give back to that style of racing. And of course, I love racing on home soil and in front of my home-state California fans.”

Confirmed from Team SD Worx are Demi Vollering and Amy Pieters, who both represented the Netherlands at the Tokyo Games, Vollering on the road and Pieters on the track.

This year, Vollering won La Course by Le Tour de France as well as Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes and The Women’s Tour. Pieters is the reigning Dutch road champion and had seven top 10s in one-day races this season, including a win at Danilith Nokere Koerse and silver at Omloop van de Westhoek.

“Team SD Worx is excited to send a few of our best over from Europe to race on U.S. soil. As a program, we are always looking to connect with our fans and to showcase our athletes on worldwide stages. We look forward to contesting the battle that will unfold on the streets of Sacramento,” said Jack Seehafer, Team SD Worx Director Sportif.

Rally Cycling has confirmed Williams will take part. She was ninth in the time trial at the US Pro National Championship this summer before racing on the track in Tokyo for Team USA.

In 2020, she was part of the US squad that captured the team pursuit world title. Among the teammates who could be racing alongside her are New Zealand criterium champion Olivia Ray, who won the Grant Park Criterium in August, and Heidi Franz, who was third on GC at the Joe Martin Stage Race.

In the spotlight for L39ION of Los Angeles will be US Pro Criterium Champion Kendall Ryan. The founders of her Continental team, brothers Justin and Cory Williams, were instrumental in creating the one-day race and bicycle festival.

“Into the Lion’s Den powered by SRAM has one of the best women’s crit fields competing on U.S. soil in years,” said Justin Williams, founder of Into the Lion’s Den.

“We are proud to give the top U.S. riders the opportunity to test their abilities against women who just competed in the Tokyo Olympics and the recent Road World Championships.”

Races for Into the Lion’s Den will take place on a one-kilometre circuit around the California Capitol grounds, with the Start/Finish line located on 11th Street and N Street.

Each pro race will offer $10,000 in primes and $40,000 in prize money, paid to the top 10 riders in each field. An Amateur Open will be held earlier in the afternoon, with prizes rather than cash.

Women's teams

  • CWA Racing p/b Trek (USA)
  • Fluevog’s Cliff Nasty (USA)
  • L39ION of Los Angeles (USA)
  • LA Sweat (USA)
  • LABC Women’s Team (USA)
  • LIV Racing (NED)
  • Los Gatos Bicycling Racing Club (USA)
  • Orion Racing (USA)
  • Podium Sports Cycling (USA)
  • Rally Pro Cycling (USA)
  • ROXO Racing (USA)
  • SOCAL Composite Women’s Team (USA)
  • Team SD Worx (NED)
  • Team DSM (GER)
  • Terun Elite (USA)
  • TWENTY24 Cycling Team (USA)
  • United Cycling (USA)