For the first time in the history of the RHC I’m actually rooting for Neil Bezdek. In 2009 I was still competing myself so Bezdek’s crushing victory was my own defeat. At the 2010 Milano I was so worried that he would mop the floor with the Italians that it was a minor miracle when local star Jon Ander Ortuondo out-sprinted him for the win. At the 2011 Brooklyn edition the underdog Dan Chabanov also got the better of Neil which for me as the race promoter was pure gold.
That fall in Milano he finally did what was I was always worried about. His cold calculated domination of every result just made me feel pity for the competition and I knew the following year this pro rider would be an unpopular name on the start list. History now knows the following year in Italy Neil was unceremoniously knocked out of the race by eventual winner Evan Murphy on lap 1. Bloody and bruised he outwardly maintained his demeanor while internally he was gutted. The defeat proved that sometimes the best result for a true champion isn’t always on the top step of the podium. This year I’d be happy to see him back there.
Despite being a vegan punk-rock drummer turned cycle courier Zak has to be considered along with Bezdek as the top favorite. Zak is the reigning United States National Omnium champion and has spent the winter racing 6 day track events in Europe. My advice to the competition.. Make the first 5 laps hurt.
Is this team going to continue being happy with top 5 finishes or are they finally going to concentrate on the win? In order for that to happen each MASH rider has to be prepared to sacrifice their own ambition for the greater success of the team. The real question is which of these equally talented riders will bury himself to help his teammates. If they are only racing for themselves we can expect a top five at best.
After Evan’s scintillating victory at the 2012 RHC Milano last fall he’s going to be a magnet for attention, attacks, and pressure to produce a carbon copy of his win. Luckily Evan has nerves of steel and in true Murphy Bro fashion is already racking up victories in 2013.
Iride Demode Squadra Corse
Another team in the same situation as MASH. Each of these Italian riders is a contender in their own right. I rode around the course last night with team BOSS Matteo Zazzera and told him what they need to do in order to win. There can be no more cruising around in the middle of the lead pack. These guys have to attack over and over again to force the inevitable break.
State Bicycle Company
This pair is hailing from a warm climate with the momentum of a huge 1-2 finish at last weekend’s Marathon Crash Race in LA. With Cat 1 strength and track bike handling skills they have a chance to add the RHC medal to their dog tag collection, on the other hand State Bicycle Co. just released a frame called “Undefeated” which they may have to change the name of after Saturday night.
4 time champion of Monster Track. He has all of Puerto Rico in town behind him. Look for this veteran to be highly motivated. The years are running out after all, this may be his last shot.
Cyclocross World’s wasn’t a big enough race for Mike so he decided to have a go at Red Hook. For anyone doubting his track bike skills will be put to rest when they see him riding wheelies and bunny hopping curbs. If this guy attacks at any point you had better chase immediately or the race is over. I will also bet anyone $100 that he wins the first lap prime.
The only metric I have of the cyclocross ace Eric Thompson’s ability is from the USA Elite CX Nationals a few months ago where he went up against RHC hero Dan Chabanov. Where Dan was easily lapped by the powerhouses of American cycling Thompson fought and finished on the lead lap in 23rd. If you know anything about racing you will appreciate this accomplishment.
Division One Bicycles
Colin worked harder on the front of the chase group last year than anyone else enroute to a fifth place finish. As one of those freak of nature cyclists who moves from cat 5 to pro in months I can’t wait to see Colin after an entire year of training and racing under his belt. This year he also brings his supposedly faster teammate Andrian Flores. This is a dangerous pair.
Kacey Manderfield Lloyd
The original RHC Champion is back out of retirement. She claims to be ‘out of shape’ but her explosive 2nd place finish at the Grant’s Tomb Criterium a few weeks ago suggests otherwise.
Olympian and World Champ Silver medalist on track Ingrid is completely focused on her professional career. She only decided to come to RHC if she could find a 6 hour ride to go on the next day. Spend too much time being distracted by this 19 year star and you will get dropped.
Don’t be fooled by Addison’s domination of the toy velodrome and the fact that he’s from the Sunshine State, he is a serious competitor who knows how to win. He has that ‘youth’ strength that can’t be earned no matter how hard all the 30 somethings train.
Just won the biggest race in New York City, Monstertrack. Beyond world class bike handler who has ‘wintered’ in California and actually trained for once. Hopefully he lays off the Redbull before the race.
Stefan is another competitor who is easy to underestimate. Even though he’s a full time messenger this guy isn’t chugging 40′s and smoking blunts after work, but instead training on the velodrome.
Zac finished 4th last year by steamrolling over Gabe Lloyd. Do not get in his way during the final sprint.
Enroute to a top five before being steamrolled by Zac Felpel. Lloyd is the strongest rider in RHC history to never finish in the top five. It is only a matter of time.
I received this email yesterday from an Italian “Hi! My friend Tommaso Nolli just told me that he feels very well and he think that he will win with facility! For me he is the only favourite of the race! He trained hard this winter!”
Little known fact but Cooper finished top 5 in the first ever RHC. He has the bike handling skills and youth strength inside of him. What he needs to do is keep calm and follow the right wheels. Not strong enough to attack but strong enough to hang in with the leaders.
Champion System p/b Stan’s No Tubes
Known as the two fastest Cat 1′s in the entire city of New York. Nobody knows if they can ride a track bike.
It’s been too long since K-tel factored in the RHC. That being said any rider with multiple podiums under his belt has to be considered a threat.
Al’s cycling ability is steadily increasing with no peak in site. Onboard the gold medal winning Trimble he has the equipment to win. He’s my dark horse pick for the victory.
JT is learning punctuation, spelling, and writing in complete sentences. I can only infer that he has found a level of focus never before seen. As one of the most gifted cyclists I’ve ever ridded with all he has to do is keep it together and not give up in the race to finish near the top.