Race Report for Barcelona No.4

Barcelona No.4 Official Race Poster

Men's Top Ten

1Colin StricklandAllez-Allez SpecializedUS
2Tristan UhlAventon Factory TeamUS
3Aldo Ino IlesicAllez-Allez SpecializedSI
4Alvise ZanascaBahumer Racing TeamIT
5Ivan RavaioliTeam Cinelli ChromeIT
6Luis JunqueraPoloandbikeES
7David Van EerdZrtc Theo MiddelkampNL
8Marius PetracheTeam Cinelli ChromeRO
9Andrea VassalloLaClassica Racing Team by SpeedgangIT
10Mario JunqueraPoloandbikeES

1st lap (breakfast) prime: Augusto Reati (Supernova Factory Team)
Halfway (dinner) prime: Daniel Holloway (Intelligentsia GR)
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Colin Strickland – 1:18.141
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Evan Murphy

Women's Top Ten

1Rachele BarbieriCylance Pro Cycling / Ird Carrera Squadra CorseIT
2Ana UsabiagaPoloandbikeES
3Jasmine DottiRidewill Oscar CyclingIT
4Keira McVittyWhy Be Normal?GB
5Jo SmithWhy Be Normal?GB
6Ainara ElbustoConor WRCES
7Samantha RunnelsAventon Factory TeamUS
8Juliet ElliottCharge Bikes / AssosGB
9Ash DubanAffinity CyclesUS
10Vittoria ReatiLaClassica Racing Team by SpeedgangIT

1st Lap (breakfast) prime: Rachele Barbieri (Cylance Pro Cycling / Ird Carrera Squadra Corse)
Halfway (dinner) prime: Keira McVitty (Why Be Normal?)
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Ainara Elbusto – 1:30.398
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Ainara Elbusto (Conor WRC)

Click here for complete results.

Women’s Race Report


2015 Champion Ainara Elbusto (Conor WRC) lined up in pole position tonight looking to close the gap on current season leader, Ash Duban (Affinity Cycles). Elbusto lost her season lead in London when a flat tire took her out of the race. It was a fiercely contested first lap with Red Hook Crit newcomer Rachele Barbieri (Cyclance Pro Cycle / Ird Carrera Squadra Corse), who qualified in second place, looking to make her mark and Carla Nafria (8bar Team) and Ana Usabiaga (Poloandbike), among others, all chasing Elbusto in what has become a Red Hook Crit tradition of her taking the first lap prime. Barbieri was leading on the back straight, and after taking the final hairpin a little wide, Elbusto emerged in the lead, but a gutsy sprint from Barbieri meant she claimed the first lap prime on her debut.

From the early stages, it was evident the field was watching Elbusto with no-one trying to change the pace. After only one or two lapped riders, the peloton remained intact including Jasmine Dotti (Ridewill Oscar Cycling), Jo Smith (Why Be Normal?) and Keira McVitty (Why Be Normal?) jostling for position at the front.

The first significant move of the evening came from Smith as she attacked the field up the incline, a particularly challenging effort considering the testing wind conditions. This would create the first degree of separation with Vittoria Reati (LaClassica Racing Team By Speedgang) and McVitty chasing Elbusto as she fended off persistent attacks.

Led by Virginia Cancellieri (Ird Carrera Squadra Corse), the Italians attempted to control the race, but Elbusto constantly proved she has the skill and the tenacity to keep them at bay. Their teamwork started to impact the back of the field and a gap developed that would take out a handful of riders as they were lapped by the sweeper motorcycle. Meanwhile, at the head of the race, upwards of 10 riders had traded places at the front including a determined sprint from Nafria, brandishing her signature giraffe handlebars, where she attempted to consolidate on her third place grid start by making her presence known to the frontrunners.

Samantha Runnels (Aventon Factory Team), an American, took the lead and encouraged riders behind her to take over but none obliged as the riders entered the mid-race prime lap. McVitty powered through the back straight, held the hairpin and out sprinted Dotti in commanding fashion to take the mid-race prime.

Strong winds played an increasingly important role in the development of the race as Cancellieri pushed the pace. It was Great Britain’s Smith who, despite the wind, offered a decisive attack through the chicane and into the home straight. Elbusto, undeterred, stayed within reach to offset the pressure from any athlete looking to outpace her, including sustained attacks from Italy’s 19 year old professional, Barbieri.

This was setting up to be a grandstand finish where any number of athletes could take the podium.

Five laps to go and Elbusto maintained her position on the front as she marked the field and increased the pace to match anyone attempting to overcome her. This left Elbusto in a physically challenging position for the better part of the final laps, where challenges from Dotti, Barbieri and Reati, were a consistent narrative.

If the majority of the race was a tactical, thoughtful and considered exchange, the final lap was one of brute strength and aggression.

In the end, Red Hook Crit debutante, Rachele Barbieri who took the race to the field as she powered through the back straight into the hairpin and held her lead to cross the line in first place. Ana Usabiaga and Jasmine Dotti followed Barbieri home to finish second and third place respectively.

For her tenacity and sheer strength of character throughout the race, Ainara Elbusto would be awarded the Rockstar Games Top Antagonist Award.

Men’s Race Report

The race got underway as every rider in the top 20 was chasing the coveted first lap prime. In recent years Mario Paz Duque (Ird Carrera Squadra Corse) has become a first lap prime tradition, but it would be Augusto Reati (Supernova Factory Team) of Italy who sprinted through the finish line to collect the award.

The pace continued into the following laps, but Colin Strickland (Allez-Allez Specialized) and Aldo Ilesic (Allez-Allez Specialized) were right on the front, seemingly looking to make an early move to control the field, as they’ve done with precision throughout the season.

Aventon Factory Team showed similar team tactics to what Specialized has displayed this year; send a rider up the track while a teammate sits on the chase. David Santos was the first to get a gap while Olivier Leroy covered the chase by (ironically) Aldo Ilesic of Specialized. It was RHC Series Leader Colin Strickland who chased Santos down completely, reshuffling the deck. It was then Poloandbike who followed up this tactic with Gonzalo Andres and amazingly Mario Junquera, who had just won the Last Chance Race and started in 86th position just ten laps prior. Against three teams playing team tactics, RHC veteran Evan Murphy (MASH) began a series of aggressive attacks against these teams to try and force a selection to his favor.

Lying in wait after the chase was Daniel Holloway (Intelligentsia GR), and after an unfortunate technical in London, he was looking to make an impact on the outcome of the race in Barcelona. Holloway played off the field looking at Specialized to chase everything and was able to set himself up to take the coveted mid-race prime.

As with the women’s race, we saw many leaders at the front of the race, and at lap 16 it was wide open, but Colin Stickland patiently remained in second and third wheel behind Olivier Leroy seemingly waiting to make his move with Evan Murphy in close pursuit.

With only 9 laps to go, Gonzalo Andres (Poloandbike), made a spirited attempt at forcing the hand of several riders who were aware that a significant gap on this fast, sweeping circuit could quickly become unassailable. But the top 10 athletes at this point were starting to settle and share attacks at the lead.

It was a surprise move from Marius Petrache with 8 laps to go that started to set the tone for the grand finale with a short, but aggressive break where race favourites Colin Strickland and Mario Paz Duque traded places at the front of the field with other strong contenders, yet everyone was concerned with the impending field sprint leaving Petrache dangling off the front for a few laps.

Within that group was Reece Wood, having a huge ride tonight in Barcelona and Evan Murphy both of whom at this point must have been thinking a place on the podium was possible.

3 laps to go and the pack was tightly grouped coming out of the hairpin and it was Justin Williams (Endo Concepts Team), a notorious field sprinter, who powered down the start-finish straight to force a late separation, but he couldn’t shake the prowess of Strickland who went with him then proceeded to drop Williams setting up a small but significant 2 second lead from the group at the close of the lap.

With one lap to go, it was Strickland’s to lose, but a surprise bridge by Tristan Uhl (Aventon Factory Team) meant he wouldn’t be cruising to victory as he’s done the last three times he’s raced the Red Hook Crit. Uhl chased Strickland through every turn and provided the grandstand finish every spectator had hoped for.  Turning out of the final turn, neck and neck Strickland and Uhl sprinted to the finish line and it was Strickland who managed to defend his slight lead to cross the line in first place.

The field sprint was close behind with Alvise Zanasca (Bahumer Racing Team) barely missing third behind Ilesic who has taken his third consecutive third place this season. 2015 Barcelona champion Ivan Ravaioli (Team Cinelli Chrome) rounded out 5th. Evan Murphy was awarded the Rockstar Games Top Antagonist for his attacks against the teamwork of Allez-Allez Specialized, Poloandbike, and Aventon Factory Team.


#redhookcrit #rhcbcn4

One comment on this post: