Rebellious to the core and hell-bent on rewriting the rules, L39ION of Los Angeles is a team like few others. They work hard, and – as any fan who’s come close to their race tent knows – play harder. As America’s most ambitious band of racers approached this year’s Tulsa Tough, they knew the world would be watching. And with new talent in tow as Oklahoma prepared to catch its first glimpse of their women’s team, expectations were understandably running high.
Gone Racing went behind the scenes with L39ION across the three days of racing to get an up-close-and-personal look at the team’s approach to competition, and perhaps most importantly, their wider mission beyond simply winning races. Watch as Justin, Cory, Skyler and Tyler seize opportunities, spread inspiration, and dominate the field for another year at one of the most hotly-contested crit racing dates on the calendar.
Best known for having the most successful lead out ever seen in US crits, L39ION of Los Angeles are enjoying unprecedented success in their first season at Continental level. But this is a team that’s about far more than being good on the bike. At every race they enter, Legion’s tent is the place to be; their insightful race reports filmed from within the bunch have garnered a following of thousands online, and the team works hard to provide a pathway into the sport for young athletes from all backgrounds.
In 2020, a year where charities struggled to raise funds, the team managed to raise $50,000 to help increase diversity and inclusion within cycling. Being a part of Legion is about more than becoming a better cyclist, it’s about becoming a better person and redressing some of the imbalances that continue to characterise our sport.
For several years now, the team has been conquering all corners of the US crit scene. Led by Justin and Cory Williams, they have sprinted to prominence with upset wins over bigger domestic rivals. But a race result is only an upset for as long as it is a surprise, and these days a L39ION win in a crit race is far from surprising.
This season, the team took the step up to UCI Continental level where they’ve enjoyed yet more success. With the roster bolstered by female riders, the team dominated once again at Tulsa Tough and notched up national championship wins in the US, Belize and Mexico, where Eder Frayre will also lead his national team in the road race at the Tokyo Olympics.
“We are the change we want to see... we are on a mission to become the only black-owned professional cycling team in America in 2021. As of right now, there are no black professional cyclists in America. We will change that and set an example for kids of all colours."
– Justin Williams
All eyes are on L39ION in 2021 as they transition to the professional ranks. Following their impressive performance at the Tulsa Tough, here is what the team has in store.
BOISE TWILIGHT CRITERIUM
A fast-paced, high-stakes cycling race in Boise, the Twilight Criterium brings the nation’s best cyclists to the city’s downtown district. Will Legion hold their own in Idaho’s premier criterium race?
Bringing cycling to the heart of Chicago, the Intelligentsia Cup hosts races for top-level professional as well as elite amateur athletes. Ten days of racing will culminate in the William Blair Grand Prix, a four-corner crit with wide-open turns for a fast race with a long sprint.
Pro teams from across the US will take to the streets of Pepper Place in downtown Birmingham for two days of fast-paced criterium racing..
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