- Ivan Ravaioli (IT)
- Luis Junquera (ES)
- Raul Torres (MX)
- William Guzman (PR)
- Augusto Reati (IT)
- Thibaud Lhenry (FR)
- Paolo Bravini (IT)
- Fabio Scarazzati (IT)
- Christian Trenchev (BG)
- Neil Bezdek (US)
1st lap (breakfast) prime: Mario Paz Duque
Halfway (dinner) prime: Thibaud Lhenry
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Stefan Vis – 1:27.821
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Chas Christiansen
- Ainara Elbusto Arteaga (ES)
- Fleur Faure (FR)
- Kacey Manderfield Lloyd (US)
- Ash Duban (US)
- Vittoria Reati (IT)
- Jo Celso (US)
- Samantha Runnels (US)
- Christina Peck (US)
- Ayesha McGowan (US)
- Veronika Volok (US)
1st Lap (breakfast) prime: Ainara Elbusto Arteaga
Halfway (dinner) prime: Ainara Elbusto Arteaga
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Kacey Manderfield Lloyd – 1:42.832
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Ainara Elbusto Arteaga
Click here for complete results.
The first race of the 2015 Championship Series in Red Hook, Brooklyn saw a few changes from prior years. Moving the race to April for the first time provided spectators and athletes much better weather to enjoy not only the racing, but the food and beer along the water. Notably, the course was changed for 2015, bringing the start/finish line closer to the cruise terminal which created the most exciting finishing circuit in the history of the Red Hook Criterium.
For the women’s criterium, Kacey Manderfield Lloyd, who famously won the inaugural Red Hook Crit in 2008, surprised the field by qualifying in pole position with a time of 1:42.832 (26.9748 mph average speed). Ainara Elbusto Artega was not pleased to lose qualification, and in the Crit she raced very aggressively from the gun, taking the first-lap prime with Lloyd a close second. Following the first prime a flurry of brief attacks occurred, but no one wanted to test Artega’s legs, including RHC No. 7 winner Jo Celso and Artega handedly took the mid-race prime. Affinity Cycles put Samantha Runnels on the front to work for teammate and former RHC Milano winner, Ash Duban, but no one else contributed to the pace setting. At the end of the night, with an average speed of 23.9865 mph, the race came down to a field sprint and Lloyd placed third behind Fleur Faure, with Artega taking the win and positioning herself as this year’s rider to beat in the women’s field. After Arteaga, who is a UCI World Cup contender and multi-time podium finisher at the Spanish National Championships, also won the 2014 women’s series after sweeping both primes and taking the win at Barcelona, and securing a prime before taking 2nd in Milan last year. For her aggressive efforts this year, Artega was awarded the Rockstar Award for Top Antagonist making her the most decorated athlete of the evening.
For the men’s race, reigning champion Thibaud Lhenry lined up in pole position, though it was his Team Cinelli Chrome teammate Stefan Vis who qualified fastest with a 1:27.821 (31.2662 mph average speed). Vis was unable to start due to a crash in qualifying, but he was awarded the $500 Fastest Qualifier Award for his efforts. From the gun, it was first lap prime hunter, Mario Paz Duque of IRD AW Lab Squadra Corse taking the prize as he has in Barcelona and Milano. It was Team Cinelli Chrome who fought back with Paolo Bravini repeatedly countering IRD as they attempted to create a breakaway but nothing would get more than 5 seconds early in the race. The dynamic of the race shifted at the mid-race prime when 2014 race winner Lhenry who took the wind out of Mario Paz Duque’s sails by out sprinting him in a drag race to the line. Lhenry continued to push the pace, but it was Chas Christiansen and Zac Felpel who secured the most dangerous breakaway within the last 10 laps. Without teammates to help them in the field and with Team Cinelli Chrome and IRD without representation, their move would not last. With three laps to go, the race was transformed when IRD rider Nicholas Varani crashed in turn 10 while sitting third wheel, taking out four of his teammates including Paz Duque and Eduardo Colon. Additionally, the crash dashed any podium chances for top antagonist Chas Christiansen and many pre-race favorites. With this reshuffling of the field, it was former Saunier Duval rider Ivan Ravaioli who made his appearance at the front and he never let the pressure off. Riding a massive gear, he was able to set a tempo within the last lap that no one could match, but in the finishing sprint, challengers Raul Torres Pagaza and Luis Junquera began to reel in Ravaioli. Ravaioli managed to hold them off by a wheel claiming his first Red Hook Crit title in front of thousands of screaming fans at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and setting an average speed of 27.1984 mph over the 30 kilometer course.
MEN’S INDIVIDUAL POINTS:
With a close finish and the two race primes going to riders outside the top 5, the men’s individual points standings is topped by race winner Ivan Ravaioli. Thibaud Lhenry, who won the mid-race prime and placed 6th, bumped himself into 5th position overall, but a distant 10 points from the lead. Mario Paz Duque was involved in a crash with three laps remaining and could not finish the race. He did win the first-lap prime giving him three points, but he will have to place on the podium in London and Barcelona to become a series contender. There are many new names to our top 26 riders, and with a challenging course in London, we expect riders from Team Cinelli Chrome, Supernova, and IRD AW LAB SQUADRA CORSE to challenge Ravaioli for his top spot.
WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL POINTS:
The women’s points standings after round 1 in Red Hook have Spaniard Ainara Elbusto Arteaga in a commanding lead with 41 points. Arteaga’s dominance in the primes gave her an additional 6 points in addition to the 35 points awarded for the win. Past race winners Kacey Manderfield Lloyd, Ash Duban and Jo Celso were not able to match Arteaga’s speed in the finish and it was only professional French rider Fleur Faure who was able to come close to Arteaga, finishing second. If the women hope to chip away at Arteaga’s lead, they will not only have to beat her in London, but prevent her from gaining any primes. With Arteaga clearly becoming more comfortable with each race, that seems like a challenge only teams such as Team Cinelli Chrome and Affinity Cycles can confront.
MEN’S TEAM POINTS:
Team Cinelli Chrome has taken command of the 2015 RHC Championship Series despite not making the podium. Thibaud Lhenry, Paolo Bravini and Neil Bezdek finished in the top 10, giving Team Cinelli Chrome a combined total of 56 points. Following Team Cinelli Chrome is Back2Back-IMAGO with 40 points lead by Fabio Scarazatti in 8th and Francesco Martucci in 11th. In third place is race winner Ivan Ravaioli’s team Bahumer Racing Team with 36 points. Ravaioli did not take a prime, giving him a total of 25 points, while his teammates secured an additional 11 points finishing 20th and 21st. If they can move up in the results at London and Ravaioli can finish on the podium, they have a chance for the series title. Notably absent from the top standings is IRD AW Lab Squadra Corse. IRD showed strong teamwork throughout qualifications and raced the first half of the event very aggressively with Mario Paz Duque taking the first lap prime. IRD faded noticeably after the mid-race prime letting dangerous breakaways go including one driven by Rockstar Top Antagonist Chas Christiansen and notable strongman Zac Felpel. The crash with three laps remaining severely affected IRD’s team points challenge, especially by losing Paz Duque and Eduardo Colon, both of whom would have been in the points, possibly the podium. Going forward to London, we expect teamwork from Impulse Stage and PoloandBike to try and stack the top 25 for team points to move up in the rankings and IRD to keep their train intact until the finish.
WOMEN’S TEAM POINTS:
Affinity Cycles of Brooklyn, NY has taken the early lead in the Women’s Championship Series by placing two riders in the top 10. Affinity showed the most consistent teamwork throughout the night with Samantha Runnels doing a majority of the pace setting for race favorite Ash Duban. Duban rewarded Runnels with a fourth place finish, but Runnels followed closely in 7th just behind RHC No. 7 winner Jo Celso. Celso, now riding for Team Cinelli Chrome, lost her teammate Kelli Samuelson early in the race and had to fend for herself. With points being awarded 25 deep, both Team Cinelli Chrome riders added to the tally, but it was only enough for a third place seating. The surprise in the women’s team standings is Brooklyn-based Hatchmap Equality. Hatchmap came into the event relatively under the radar, but with a 9th by Ayesha McGowan and 14th by Carol Lynn-Mills, they were able to finish with 29 points, seating them second overall going into London. The big question for London is whether or not powerhouse Team Cinelli Chrome can rise from third place if Affinity and Hatchmap lineup the same squads, or even more riders. Similarly, if individual Championship Series leader Ainara Elbusto Arteaga wins London and other teams falter, Arteaga would be in a position to lead both the individual and team standings. London looks like it’s going to be an exciting race for the women’s field and we can’t wait to see you there.