‘Restoring a successful criterium season’ goal for new National Association of Cycling Teams in US

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A group of US-based elite and professional cycling teams have banded together to form the National Association of Cycling Teams (NACT) with an emphasis on advocating for athletes on and off the race course as well as helping to establish a new criterium racing series for the 2022 season.

A total of 22 teams were named in the launch of the NACT this week, including two UCI Women’s Continental programmes, DNA Pro Cycling Team and InstaFund Racing. Both teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in team standings in USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour.

Best Buddies Racing and Butcherbox Cycling were the highest-ranked men’s squads in the new organization, both of these Domestic Elite teams finishing in the top seven of the Pro Road Tour.

“The group is eager to include as many teams as possible. We pulled this organization together in less than two months. We are in contact with a handful of other teams,” Richard Fries, a representative for the marketing and communications subcommittee.

The organisation said in a press release that its overall focus was to work with “stakeholders like USA Cycling and event organizers to help make the sport inclusive, appeal to a broad audience, and economically viable for all involved.” Among the initiatives identified for its member teams and riders were improvements for safety, community outreach, racing conditions, [race] production value, sponsor relations, and promotional standards.

“While our initial group was focused on restoring a successful criterium season, we realized cycling is one of the few American sports without a unified organization representing the interests of its athletes,” noted Meredith Dodds of CS Velo Racing, who has helped organize the association’s launch.

Lauren Dodge of Automatic Racing is one of the association’s spokespersons and registered the non-profit organisation in Georgia where she lives. Automatic Racing, along with Butcherbox Cycling and Team Robson Forensic, field both men’s and women’s teams and while the NACT was set up to serve multiple racing disciplines, the initial focus would be on American-style criteriums.

“I believe that it will be better for racing and for racers if elite teams work together to preserve what progress has been made, but with a new direction. I want to see a series co-created by a number of stakeholders including teams, race directors and USA Cycling,” Dodge said in the official announcement.

The “new direction” points to the controversy surrounding the long-standing USA Crits series, which lost support of a number of teams and events in October when it was revealed a contractor of the company that operated the series was under a suspension from the US Center for SafeSport on allegations of “misconduct”. It was not known if the USA Crits series would return in 2022, as organisers have not responded to Cyclingnews.

Of the initial 22 teams listed as founding members of the NACT, all but one, ExtraSweet Racing, competed in 2021 as D1 teams in the USA Crits series.

Among the D1 teams which are not listed as NACT members are the Continental and Domestic Elite teams for L39ION of Los Angeles. The L39ION squads finished first overall in the men’s and women’s standings of the Pro Road Tour, and in the top 10 for USA Crits. L39ION was one of the first teams to announce it would pull out of all future participation in races or events associated with that series.

Member teams
ATX Wolfpack
Automatic Racing (men and women)
Best Buddies Racing
BSGC/Support Clean Racing/Guttenplan Coaching
Butcherbox Cycling (men and women)
CS Velo Racing
Colavita/HelloFresh Pro Women’s Cycling
DNA Pro Cycling
ExtraSweet Racing
Good Guys Racing NYC
Instafund
Levine Law Group Women’s Cycling
Nashville Local Cycling
Primal Audi Denver
Space City Development Team
Team Clif Bar
Team Robson Forensic (men and women)
United Cycling
Voler Factory Racing