The winners celebrate on the podium. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
The Red Hook Criterium 2015 Championship Series drew to a close with the fourth and final race in Milan, Italy on Saturday. 325 athletes from more than 27 countries came to qualify for the final races. Congratulations to Ainara Elbusto for taking first place in the women’s race and Colin Strickland for being the first American to take 1st place on the men’s podium since 2013’s race at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
With her win, Elbusto also locked up her second straight championship, while Italy’s own Ivan Ravaioli captured the 2015 men’s championship.
Qualification sessions ran throughout the afternoon. The fastest lap times determined where athletes were placed on the final 95 starting grid spots. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
Elbusto set the pace early for the women’s field with a dominating qualification time of 1:43.977. Elbusto leveraged her pole position on the starting grid to claim the first lap prime before the race quickly settled into a lead pack including the likes of Barcelona winner Kacey Lloyd, Milano No. 5 winner Ash Duban, and Rockstar Games Top Antagonist winner Francisco Campos, along with about 20 others.
Lloyd sporting the Rockstar Games kit awaits the afternoon qualifying round. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
The midway prime was taken by Great Britain’s Jo Smith after outsprinting Elbusto in an attack coming out of turn 9. Campos continually contested the front forcing the pack leaders to push their pace and maintain control, winning her the Top Antagonist award for her efforts.
With two laps to go, a crash in turn 2 reduced the lead pack allowing Fleur Faure to make her presence known by attacking through the start/finish going into the final lap. In the final stretch, Lloyd and Elbusto were locked in a sprint for the finish line with Elbusto clenching the win by half a wheel.
Fierce competition. Campos proudly holds up the Rockstar Games Top Antagonist award. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
The last chance race heading into turn 1. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
Following the day’s qualifying rounds, the Last Chance Race gave 10 athletes from the top 85 who didn’t qualify for the final race a do-or-die opportunity to place on the final starting grid. Romanian Marius Petrache, a late entry to qualifying group 7, went on a race-long solo breakaway to ultimately finish second behind Italy’s Allessandro Mariani.
Spectators lining the streets and walls of turn 9 cheer and ring cowbells during the men’s final. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
As a result of the men’s qualifications, only 3 tenths of a second separated the top 3 positions on the starting grid for the final. Barcelona’s 2nd place finisher Mario Paz Duque took the first lap prime before the race settled into exchanges between Daniele Callegarin, Augusto Reati and Sebastian Koeber attacking on the front and closing the gap at the front of the field to bring the field back together.
Italian cycling icon Luciano Berruti leads the customary pace lap before the men’s final begins. Photo: Jason Sellers.
Petrache, riding without a team sponsor, would climb from the 87th starting position to win the mid-race prime and ultimately finish in the top 10, earning him the Rockstar Games Top Antagonist award.
With eleven laps remaining, Strickland had taken the lead and eventually put a 14 second gap between himself and the field. RHC veteran Stefan Vis led the chase pack but Strickland’s lead proved to be too commanding, crossing the finish line with ease. Ravaioli and Callegarin took 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Stickland crossing the finish with a major gap ahead of the field. Photo: @strict / @eloisemavian.
We’ve been honored to sponsor yet another year of world-class competition in one of the world’s most exciting bike racing series. Congratulations and thanks are in order for all the Red Hook Crit staff, athletes, and co-sponsors - we’re proudly looking forward to continuing our title sponsorship into 2016. For all of the latest Red Hook Crit news and information, check out their official website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Congratulations to Antonio Colombo and Team Cinelli Chrome for winning the Men’s Team Series.
Women’s Race Results
1. Ainara Elbusto (Conor WRC, ES)
2. Kacey Lloyd (Rockstar Games, US)
3. Fleur Faure (Polandbike, FR)
4. Hayley Edwards (Why Be Normal?, UK)
5. Vittoria Reati (Supernova Factory Team, IT)
6. Jasmine Dotti (Oscar Cycling, IT)
7. Brooke Philips (Pedlas Persuit, UK)
8. Sammi Runnels (Aventon, US)
9. Carla Mafria (Fixieland, ES)
10. Ash Duban (Affinity Cycles, US)
1st lap (breakfast prime): Ainara Elbusto, ES
Mid-way (dinner prime): Jo Smith, UK
Fastest Lap Qualifying Time: Ainara Elbusto, ES (1:43.977)
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Francisca Campos, CL
Men’s Race Results
1. Colin Strickland (Aventon Factory Team, US)
2. Ivan Ravaioli (Bahumer Racing Team, IT)
3. Daniele Callegarin (Oscar Cycling Team, IT)
4. Augusto Reati (Supernova, IT)
5. Luis Junquera (Polandbike, ES)
6. Tim Ceresa (8bar Team, FR)
7. Alejandro Padilla (Impulse Stage, GT)
8. Stefan Vis (Cinelli Chrome, NL)
9. Raul Torres (Leader Bikes, MX)
10. Marius Petrache (RO)
1st lap (breakfast prime): Mario Paz Duque, CO
Mid-way (dinner prime): Marius Petrache, RO
Fastest Lap Qualifying Time: Samuele Cai, IT (1:31.5)
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Marius Petrache, RO
Championship Series Final Standings – Women’s
1. Ainara Elbusto, 153 Points
2. Kacey Lloyd, 122 Points
3. Fleur Faure, 94 Points
4. Ash Duban, 78 Points
5. Sammi Runnels, 61 Points
6. Jo Celso, 61 Points
7. Keira McVitty, 50 Points
8. Johanna Jahnke, 50 Points
9. Gretchen Stumhofer, 45 Points
10. Vittoria Reati, 44 Points
Championship Series Final Standings – Men’s
1. Ivan Ravaioli, 127 Points
2. Augusto Reati, 90 Points
3. Fabio Scarazzati, 82 Points
4. William Guzman, 76 Points
5. Mario Paz Duque, 69 Points
6. Daniele Callegarin, 68 Points
7. Luis Junquera, 67 Points
8. Raul Torres Pagaza, 60 Points
9. Paolo Bravini, 56 Points
10. Thibaud Lhenry, 50 Points
The Red Hook Criterium Milano No. 6