American road racing has struggled in the past decade. Following the downfall of Lance Armstrong, road racing became almost synonymous with doping, sponsors walked away, and fans became disenchanted. But new energy is emerging again in the longtime American discipline of crit racing, or criterium, which has riders hammering out laps on courses through city streets. It’s fast, rowdy, and full of crashes—cycling’s version of Nascar. “If you love football, if you like watching people get smacked and running into each other, getting dunked on, it has the same feel,” says top crit rider Justin Williams. Known as an outspoken advocate for diversity in the sport, Williams is now on a quest to create a whole new fan base for road riding by making it a commercial sport for the masses.
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