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The only Black-owned pro cycling team in the world came to Tulsa, Oklahoma 100 years after one of the worst race massacres in American history and made these streets their own.
For the second night in a row, L39ION of Los Angeles swept the men’s and women’s pro races at Tulsa Tough. The team swapped winners for the Arts District criterium – it was Kendall Ryan ahead of Skylar Schneider in the women’s race and Cory Williams crossing the line in front of his teammate Tyler Williams in the men’s. They remained just as dominant as they had been at Blue Dome.
In the men’s race, the team took first though fourth, with Ty Magner and Justin Williams in third and fourth.
Justin Williams has been vocal on the connection between the team’s presence at Tulsa and the massacre at Greenwood, where a white mob burned an entire neighborhood and killed nearly 300 people. Ahead of the three-race weekend, the team visited the neighborhood and added Greenwood patches to their kits. “When we think about Tulsa, we think about what could have been,” the team wrote on Instagram. “A community full of opportunities for minorities that was uprooted by hate and ignorance. We are proud to elevate and support @gwd.ave in its quest to help Black Wall Street thrive again and the ideology of Black ownership.”
Justin Williams opened the weekend with a commanding victory on Friday night, just ahead of his brother Cory.
“Last night is dedicated to Black Wall Street and the incredible people that lived and thrived there,” he wrote after the race. “The injustice hasn’t been reconciled, but absolutely needs to be. While whites in the area were reimbursed for ammunition and weapons, Black decedents are still waiting on justice while Oklahoma holds on to the land those in the past destroyed and stole.”
The first two days of racing at Tulsa Tough are tilted toward top sprinters. The third, the River Parks Criterium, also known as Crybaby Hill for the nasty kicker that features in every lap, can suit a slightly different type of rider. You can watch the livestream of the pro races beginning at 3:30 CDT.
For more coverage of the crits in Tulsa, head over to the CyclingTips Instagram.