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Cory Williams is hard to miss in races—both because of the GoPro strapped to his helmet, and because more often than not he’s the one winning. And while he’s found quite a bit of success on the bike in his 28 years, picking up plenty of victories since he started riding at age 9, his latest project, L39ION of Los Angeles, the cycling team he started with his brother Justin in 2019, could turn out to be his biggest success.
Fresh off of winning the California state time trial championship, Cory joins Bobby & Jens this week to bring us behind the scenes of L39ION, which is shaking up American cycling. “It’s been growing a lot faster than I think we even expected,” says Cory of the team. He discusses its origins and taking it from an idea to reality.
The team has tried to operate differently from other cycling teams to form a better culture. “For me, honestly, I don’t have to be the winner of the race,” says Cory. “I just want our team to be successful.” They’re values that remind co-hosts Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt of their days on Team CSC. The team is also heavily involved in their community off the bike, promoting the sport to new audiences and pushing for more diversity and inclusion.
L39ION is also trying to advance women’s cycling, working to create equal payouts for men and women. And they’re putting their money where their mouths are. The team’s Into the Lion’s Den criterium in Sacramento, California, last month, had a $100,000 prize purse with equal payouts between the men’s and women’s fields.
That race, with its monumental prize purse, is just the start of the team’s ambitions to reshape American racing. Cory breaks down how the team’s first event went, its importance, and plans going forward for more races. American cycling as we know it could look very different in the coming years thanks to the efforts of Cory Williams and L39ION of Los Angeles.
Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.