Denver disrupts Miami in the first NCL Miami Beach Invitational

By Justinian Hatfield
NCL Miami Beach Invitational
Denver Disruptors celebrate while 2nd place Miami Nights look on. | GCN+ screenshot

The Denver Disruptors beat the Miami Nights in the first ever National Cycling League Miami Beach Invitational on April 8.

The Miami Beach Invitational consisted of 10 teams, broken up into Women’s and Men’s rosters. The Women raced first, followed by the men.

Each race was 25 laps of a mile-long course on the streets of Miami Beach. At the end of each lap, points are awarded to the teams whose rider crosses first (3 points), second (2 points) and third (1 point). On the last lap, more points are awarded. First place gets 9 points, second gets 6, and 3rd receives 3 points. In a first for professional cycling, teams are allowed substitutions if a rider is injured, or just needs to recover.

“We’re creating something new, something different. (We’re) making bike racing more accessible, faster, more exciting.” said Paris Wallace NCL’s CEO during the broadcast. “You have an entire bike race every single lap. And you have all the drama the typically unfolds over hours in three minutes and then you have it again, and again and again.”

The qualifying round took place the night before via a Zwift race on Wahoo Kickers. This race sets up the starting grid and determines where the teams are placed. Team Roxo Racing/Voler Factory Racing won the qualifying races and took the prime positions.

The race kicked off with the women racing first and the Denver Disruptors came out swinging taking, first, second and third for all six points on the first lap.

The first crash came on the on third lap, with riders from Monarch Racing hitting the barriers, but getting right back up.

On the fifth lap Miami’s Andrea Cyr took first in the sprint and for the fist time, Denver didn’t score. With 20 Laps to go, Miami was trailing Denver by just one point. But Miami couldn’t keep up the momentum and after the 10th lap, Denver was leading Miami 28 to 14.

A big crash with 18 laps to go saw riders break through the barricade after losing control around a corner.

The final sprint went to Kate Selier of CCB Alpine Carbon who took the 9 points, Denver’s Valentina Scandolara crossed 2nd with 6 points and Skyline’s Camille Desrochers LaFlamme earned her team’s first points of the race in third.

At the end of the Women’s Miami Beach Invitational Race, Denver lead Miami 69 to 53. The third-place team was CCB Alpine Carbon with 16 points.

“It was incredible out there. What an awesome event,” said Denver’s Leah Kirchmann after the race. “I’m so proud of the team. We really worked well together and we’re just so happy to come away with the win.”

The very first lap of the men’s race saw a Voler Racing rider crash into the barriers on the same corner where the Women’s race had problems. Miami started strong with Alfredo Rodrigues taking the first sprint and Bryan Gomez doing the same on the second lap.

The pace was so strong, that with 20 laps to go, half the field fell off the back of the peloton.

A breakaway formed around 18 laps to go. Both Miami and Denver were represented by one rider. By 16 laps to go, the breakaway was caught and Denver was leading Miami by just 10 points (84-74).

Denver broke 100 points with a solo breakaway with 11 laps to go and grew their lead to 23 points over Miami.

“The point is it’s a very hard race. I mean its one hour full on.” said Miami Nights Coach Sebastian Alexandre. “Once you get a good gap it’s hard to catch back because the team that’s leading always gets one or two points so even if you do your best, its hard.”

With half a dozen laps to go, a two-man breakaway of Denver’s Juan Arango and Bryan Gomez of Miami had a 30-second lead over the rest of the group and Denver’s lead grew to 34 points over Miami. Denver rider Oskar Nisu chased and grabbed several third place points for the Disruptors.

Denver swept the points on the second-to-last lap, but the last sprint went to Texas Roadhouse’s Zach Berend. Denver took second and Miami third.

The Denver and Miami Men’s teams dominated the race. Miami scored 40 points and Denver added an additional 69 points to their lead. Denver won with a combined 138 points to Miami’s 93. Third place went to Goldman Sachs ETFS racing/Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team with 32 points.