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World Cycling League debuts in California - Gallery

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On the velodrome in Carson, California

On the velodrome in Carson, California (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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The Dublin Thunder

The Dublin Thunder (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Tela Crane leads the bunch

Tela Crane leads the bunch (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Missy Erikson on the fornt during Saturday's afternoon session.

Missy Erikson on the fornt during Saturday's afternoon session. (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Matthew Rotherham and Giddeon Massie battle fro the lead

Matthew Rotherham and Giddeon Massie battle fro the lead (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Matthew Rotherham and Giddeon Massie battle fro the lead

Matthew Rotherham and Giddeon Massie battle fro the lead (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Patrick Kos

Patrick Kos (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Eoin Morton of the Dublin Thunder

Eoin Morton of the Dublin Thunder (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Missy Erikson of the California Wave

Missy Erikson of the California Wave (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Alissa Maglaty

Alissa Maglaty (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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The women's spritn during Saturday's afternoon session.

The women's spritn during Saturday's afternoon session. (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ryan Fintan of the Dublin Thunder

Ryan Fintan of the Dublin Thunder (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Roberto Serrano of the Mexico Heat

Roberto Serrano of the Mexico Heat (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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The Pennsylvania Lightning in the team pursuit tie-breaker

The Pennsylvania Lightning in the team pursuit tie-breaker (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Mexico Heat in Team Pursuit Decider

Mexico Heat in Team Pursuit Decider (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Matthew Rotherham of the Connecticut Nor'Easters

Matthew Rotherham of the Connecticut Nor'Easters (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Nate Koch

Nate Koch (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Zac Kovalcik leads the pack.

Zac Kovalcik leads the pack. (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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The Mexico Heat entertain the fans

The Mexico Heat entertain the fans (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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The Pennsylvania Lightning after winning Friday night's debut session

The Pennsylvania Lightning after winning Friday night's debut session (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Kate Wilson

Kate Wilson (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ignacio Sarabia of the Mexico Heat

Ignacio Sarabia of the Mexico Heat (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ignacio Prado of the Mexico Heat

Ignacio Prado of the Mexico Heat (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Tyler Nothstein of the Pennsylvania Lightning

Tyler Nothstein of the Pennsylvania Lightning (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Alissa Maglaty of the California Wave rides in the women's elimination race

Alissa Maglaty of the California Wave rides in the women's elimination race (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Women line up on the rails before the elimination race.

Women line up on the rails before the elimination race. (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Andreas Mueller, Justin Williams and Zac Kovalcik

Andreas Mueller, Justin Williams and Zac Kovalcik (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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The Dublin Thunder circle the track in Carson

The Dublin Thunder circle the track in Carson (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Antonieta Gaxiola of the Mexico Heat

Antonieta Gaxiola of the Mexico Heat (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Rider compete in the opening session of the World Cycling League

Rider compete in the opening session of the World Cycling League (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ignacio Prado

Ignacio Prado (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ignacio Prado

Ignacio Prado (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ignacio Prado

Ignacio Prado (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Colleen Gulick

Colleen Gulick (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Susie Mitchell of the DublinThunder

Susie Mitchell of the DublinThunder (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Anita Yvonne Stenberg of the Pennsylvania Lightning

Anita Yvonne Stenberg of the Pennsylvania Lightning (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Teresa Casas of the MexicoHeat leads the bunch

Teresa Casas of the MexicoHeat leads the bunch (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Andreas Mueller of the California Wave

Andreas Mueller of the California Wave (Image credit: Oran Kelly)
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Ammon Byrne of the Dublin Thunder

Ammon Byrne of the Dublin Thunder (Image credit: Oran Kelly)

The Pennsylvania Lightning out-dueled the Mexico heat over the weekend to take the inaugural race of the fledgling World Cycling League, a new track racing venture founded by former Philadelphia International Cycling Classic organiser Dave Chauner.

42 elite track cyclists from 12 countries competed in a six-team, three-session format that started Friday evening, continued Saturday afternoon and concluded with a final session Saturday evening.

In each session, the teams of four men and three women earned points in a 12-race format, which included no time trials or match sprints.

Olympic medalists from the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Nelson Vails and Steve Hegg, along with Connie Paraskevin, the four-time world sprint champion, four-time US road race national champion Fred Rodriguez, 2000 Olympian Tony Cruz from nearby Long Beach and bike speed record holder John Howard all attended as celebrity representatives for each team.

“This really is the future of cycling,” said Rodriguez, ambassador for the Pennsylvania Lightning. “It’s entertainment for a new generation with a shorter attention span. Nothing like this has been presented in the US before. And, the racing was real hard and aggressive. It was a very cool event. Plus, my team won.”

Shimano executive Wayne Stetina, came up from Orange County added, said he really didn't know what to expect.

“I was invited by Steve Hegg and I’m really glad I came up,” he said. “It was a great and entertaining format. No real down time. The spectators really seemed to respond to it. It was an electric atmosphere. This was a fun night of real good racing.”

On the track, the Lightning’s Kwesi Browne of Trinidad and Matthew Rotherham of Great Britain battled it out in the 500 and 1,000 meter races, both winning matches on the final night.

The endurance races featured Andreas Muller of Austria, the winningest racer in European six-day history, American Zak Kovalcik and Ignacio Prado of Mexico, who was named the men’s MVP.

On the women’s side, six-time Irish champion Eimear Moran, 10-time US Champion Tela Crane, event MVP Anita Stenberg of Norway and American sprinter Missy Erickson, who was coming back from a major injury, were featured. Stenbergy won multiple races while Erickson won two sprint races the final night.

“This event was fantastic,” Erickson said. “For me, to get back on the track was one thing. To compete in a ground-breaking event with so much charisma made it special. I think the format and the way they presented it, from the kits on up, shows great potential. I look forward to it continuing."