- Eduard Grosu
- Ivan Ravaioli
- Julio Padilla
- Augusto Reati
- Evan Murphy
- Mario Paz Duque
- Pablo Rodriguez
- Neil Bezdek
- Umberto Marengo
- Stefano Nicoletti
1st lap (breakfast) prime: Mario Paz Duque
Halfway (dinner) prime: Eduard Grosu
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Julio Padilla – 1:33.43
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Diego Yepez
- Ash Duban
- Ainara Elbusto Arteaga
- Fleur Faure
- Stefania Baldi
- Sandra Jorda Pasco
- Vittoria Reati
- Nathalie Simoens
- Ayesha McGowan
- Erin Gunn
- Maria Jatkovics
1st Lap (Breakfast) prime: Ainara Elbusto Arteaga
Halfway (dinner) prime: Fleur Faure
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Stefania Baldi – 1:55.06
Click here for complete results.
MEN’S RACE REPORT
The third and final race in the 2014 Championship Series took place in Milano Italy on the fastest of this year’s courses. With 250 racers vying for the 95 spots in the main race, the qualifying rounds were hotly contested and it soon became apparent that last year’s qualifying course record of 1:37.90 would be surpassed and it was the Barcelona champion, Julio Padilla, who shattered the record with the race’s fastest qualifying time of 1:33.43.
With more than 8,000 cheering spectators lining the race course, the men’s race began with a full on 95 racer sprint into the first turn and Mario Paz Duque, at this point a specialist in the discipline, captured the first lap prime followed closely by Eduard Grosu and Julio Padilla.
The successive laps were characterized by a continuous upping of the tempo especially by the Puerto Rican based Team Impulse Stage, who yet again proved itself to be the only team – probably in the history of the Red Hook Series – to be able to strategically impose itself on the front of the race.
The 12th lap prime was easily won by Grosu in a sign of things to come. After a slight slowing of the pace on the 13th lap, the 14th saw Diego Yepez break free off the front in an echo of a similar move made by his Team Impulse Stage teammate in Barcelona. He was followed only by Ivan Ravaioli. By the next lap the duo’s gap had opened up to a notable 9 seconds with Iride – Demode Sc’s Nicholas Varani and championship leader Thibaud Lhenry taking it upon themselves to do the chase work. By the 17th lap we again had gruppo compatto and the race relaxed for just a moment. But it was Team Impulse Stage which again took the initiative on lap 19, with older brother, Alejandro Padilla, and teammate Diego Yepez going to the front to further drive the pace and split the front group.
Going into the last lap, Julio Padilla hit the front followed by Grosu, Ravaioli, Agusto Reati, Paz Duque, Neil Bezdek, Pablo Rodriguez, Nicoletti Stefano, Evan Murphy and Umberto Marengo holding the top ten positions. The last lap was an all out battle for positioning with Murphy setting the fastest lap of the race of 1:32.88 while he moved up from 10th to 5th in the final 1,300 meters.
Grosu, seasoned from a year racing against the world’s best pros, made all the right moves, coming out of the final turn first wheel, starting his sprint early, and quickly distancing his rivals in the final 200 meters to defend his crown at the Milano Red Hook Criterium. In the sprint for second, Ravaioli came out of the final turn in third wheel but was able to pass Julio Padilla who took third place.
Thibaud Henry, coming in 16th, did enough to seal the individual points classification, while Iride – Demode Sc, always visible and active near the front of the race stole the overall team classification from Team Cinelli Chrome. Diego Yepez took home the Rockstar Games Top Antagonist Award for his selfless and aggressive ride to benefit his team leader, Julio Padilla.
WOMEN’S RACE REPORT
Milano was the finale for the first women’s championship series and the stage was set for a battle with the two previous Red Hook Crit winners, Jo Celso and Ainara Elbusto Arteaga with Arteaga leading the overall series by a mere three points.
During the qualifying session, veteran track bike crit racer and crowd favorite, Stefania Baldi laid down the women’s fastest lap time with a 1:55.06, securing her pole position for the main race. Race favorite, Ash Duban showed he form with a the second fastest lap time while Barcelona Champion, Arteaga, crashed hard in qualifying and pulled out early and had to make due with an 11th place starting position.
At the start of the women’s race, the crowd was electric and excited to witness the first ever women’s track bike crit on Italian soil. From the gun the race was aggressive with Duban, Arteaga, Fleur Faure, and Baldi sprinting off the line and immediately shattering the small field and leaving pre race favorite Celso chasing to reconnect. At the end of the first lap Arteaga easily took the 1st lap prime and the four lead racers continued to work well together, sharing the work and maintaining a healthy gap. Eventually a chase group containing Vittoria Reati, Sandra Jordo Pasco and Nathalie Simoens made contact but only for a few laps as the pace was once again increased and the four original breakaway companions pushed on leaving the chasers behind.
The 9th lap prime was hotly contested with Faure just edging out Arteaga in an exciting mid-race sprint. By the 16th lap the four-woman break had a 52 second gap to the nearest chasers and had lapped Celso, eliminating her from the race. In the final lap, Duban, made her move early, overtaking Arteaga in the chicane, coming out of the final turn first wheel and winning the sprint by a bike length. Rounding out the podium was Arteaga taking second and solidifying her overall series win, and Faure taking third.