The penultimate race in the Red Hook Crit 2016 Championship Series took place before roaring crowds at the spectacular waterfront venue, Parc del Forum in Barcelona as Colin Strickland continued his winning ways, taking first place for the third straight event and extending his commanding lead in the series. Meanwhile, Italian newcomer Rachele Barbieri summoned deep reserves for a powerful effort in the back straight to take down local, Ana Usabiaga in the women’s final.
[Left] Qualification sessions during the afternoon place riders on the starting grid in accordance with the fastest lap times. [Right] Elbusto leads the first lap qualifying at pole position. Photos: @tornanti_cc
Women’s series leader Ash Duban entered Barcelona seeking to defend her position against 2015 Champion Ainara Elbusto. With the series standings so tight and coveted points awarded for first place in the first lap prime and halfway prime, the opening lap was fiercely contested. Elbusto lead the lap with others close on her wheel until the peloton exited the final hairpin and Barbieri put in an aggressive sprint to overtake Elbusto for the prime.
Barbieri wins the first lap prime. Photo: @tornanti_CC
After Great Britain’s Keira McVitty took the halfway prime, strong winds from the waterfront started to play a role in the race. Elbusto maintained her position on the front as the field continued to attack in attempts to outpace her, including Italy’s Jasmine Dotti, Barbieri and Reati. For these efforts, Elbusto would take home the Rockstar Games Award for Top Antagonist.
However in the final lap, Barbieri pushed through the back straight and into the final hairpin, maintaining her lead across the finish line, with Ana Usabiaga and Dotti following.
With a 9th place finish and 74 points, Duban now maintains a short lead on the series over McVitty (67 points) and Elbusto (64 points), heading into the final race of 2016 in Milan on October 1st.
1. Rachele Barbieri (IRD Carrera Squadra Corse, IT)
2. Ana Usabiaga (Poloandbike, ES)
3. Jasmine Dotti (Ridewell Oscar Cycling, IT)
4. Keira McVitty (Why be normal?, GB)
5. Jo Smith (Why be normal?, GB)
6. Ainara Elbusto (Conor WRC, ES)
7. Samantha Runnels (Aventon Factory Team, USA)
8. Juliet Elliott (Charge Bikes / Assos, GB)
9. Ash Duban (Affinity Cycles, USA)
10. Vittoria Reati (LaClassica Racing Team by Speedgang, IT)
1st Lap (breakfast prime): Rachele Barbieri, IT
Halfway (dinner prime): Keira McVitty, GB
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Ainara Elbusto, ES
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Ainara Elbusto, ES
Women’s Series Standings
1. Ash Duban – 74 Points
2. Keira McVitty – 67 Points
3. Ainara Elbusto – 64 Points
4. Vittoria Reati – 60 Points
5. Jasmine Dotti – 57 Points
6. Jo Celso – 48 Points
7. Ana Usabiaga – 47 Points
8. Johanna Jahnke – 47 Points
9. Francisca Campos – 41 Points
10. Veronika Volok – 39 Points
The first lap of the men’s race opened in similar fashion, with the top 20 all chasing those precious first lap prime points. Augusto Reati outsprinted the pack to take the award and the pace continued in following laps with series leader Colin Strickland and teammate Aldo Ilesic right on the front.
Ilesic on the front with Strickland in the red series leader jersey behind. Photo: @tornanti_cc
The Aventon Factory Team, Allez-Allez Specialized and Poloandbike squads all displayed teamwork to attack and control the front of the race. Meanwhile, past RHC winner turned pro road racer, Evan Murphy, worked against those tactics with a series of attacks to force the race in his favor, ultimately winning him the Rockstar Award for Top Antagonist.
Evan Murphy accelerating ahead of series leader Strickland. Photo: @tornanti_cc
After Daniel Holloway took the halfway prime, the lead position shuffled a number of times with Strickland, Olivier Leroy and Murphy in close pursuit. With three laps to go, notorious field sprinter Justin Williams forced a separation ahead of Strickland. Strickland would ultimately drop Williams with a 2 second gap heading into the final lap.
Strickland powering through the final laps. Photo: tornanti_cc
With one lap to go, Tristan Uhl made a surprise move to bridge the gap to Strickland, chasing close on his wheel through every turn, managing a neck and neck sprint through to the finish, where Strickland managed to hold on for a slight lead at the line. With the victory, Strickland extended his lead over teammate Ilesic to 27 points (108-81). 2015 men’s series champion Ivan Ravaioli currently occupies third place in the standings (76 points) after his fifth place finish in Barcelona.
Strickland maintains his 2016 series sweep. Photo: tornanti_cc
1. Colin Strickland (Allez-Allez Specialized, USA)
2. Tristan Uhl (Aventon Factory Team, USA)
3. Aldo Ino Ilesic (Allez-Allez Specialized, SL)
4. Alvise Zanasca (Bahumer Racing Team, IT)
5. Ivan Ravaioli (Team Cinelli Chrome, IT)
6. Luis Junquera (Poloandbike, MX)
7. David Van Eerd (Zrtc Theo Middelkamp, FR)
8. Marius Petrache (Team Cinelli Chrome, RO)
9. Andrea Vassallo (LaClassicaRacing Team by Speedgang, IT)
10. Mario Junquera (Poloandbike, ES)
1st Lap (breakfast prime): Augusto Reati, IT
Halfway (dinner prime): Daniel Holloway, USA
Fastest Qualifying Lap: Colin Strickland, USA
Rockstar Games Top Antagonist: Evan Murphy, USA
Men’s Series Standings
1. Colin Strickland – 108 Points
2. Aldo Ino Ilesic – 81 Points
3. Ivan Ravaioli – 76 Points
4. Tristan Uhl – 48 Points
5. Daniele Callegarin – 46 Points
6. Alvise Zanasca – 43 Points
7. Marius Petrache – 39 Points
8. Alec Briggs – 38 Points
9. Olivier Leroy – 34 Points
10. Andrea Vassallo – 33 Points
Congratulations to all the competitors, as we look ahead to the 2016 series finale in Milan on October 1st. For more details, make sure to visit redhookcrit.com or the official Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.