New national cycling league hosts inaugural race in Atlanta

Andrea Pagnanelli, the CEO of the National Cycling League (NCL), and Ben Gardner, a NCL Investor and former NFL player, discuss the National Cycling League’s work of promoting DEI in cycling and the league’s inaugural NCL Cup Race that’s scheduled for Sunday in Atlanta. (Paolo Candelo)

It was just last year when The National Cycling League came into being, with a goal to set a new standard for inclusivity in professional sports. On Sunday, the NCL’s mission for diversity will be on full display in Atlanta. The third and final leg of the inaugural NCL Cup Race will happen at the Porsche Experience Center test track in Hapeville.

On Friday’s edition of “Closer Look” Andrea Pagnanelli, the CEO of the National Cycling League, told show host Rose Scott that Atlanta was included in the event because it’s a city that appreciates biking, with its wide variety of mountain biking paths and the BeltLine. She added that America is a country that appreciates cycling with more than 50 million riders in the U.S.

The NCL reports itself to be the first sports league to be majority-minority and female-owned. Pagnanelli says they’re making sure both men and women are represented equally in cycling, with a goal of adding an Atlanta-based team.

During the conversation, Ben Gardner, an NCL Investor and former NFL player, said it’s a great time for upstart sports properties because of the multimedia and multiplatform world we live in. He said he was drawn to the sport from watching the amazing achievements of the athletes.