Aventon Sets New Series Firsts at Red Hook Crit
October 20, 2017
We went to Milan to win
Eleonore was favored to win the women’s race. Tristan, Dave, and Olivier were all riding strong and capable of a win. We were defending the women’s individual points championship, the women’s team championship, and the men’s team championship.
The women’s categories were easily within reach, but the men’s team championship was tight. There were three other teams within ten points of Aventon’s 109 points. So, the guys knew they had to fight for every single position they could.
The women’s qualifiers started off with a bit of a surprise
Italian professional rider Maria Sperotto beat Eleonore in the qualification heat, who hasn’t lost a qualification heat all year. It was also a lost opportunity to gain three points on her closest rival, Raphaele Lemieux. Lemieux won the next heat taking three championship points and inching closer to Eleonore. Luckily, Eleonore won the Superpole competition, beating Raphaele by only 0.06 seconds and gaining back those three points.
In 2016, we placed third in the women’s race with Gretchen Stumhofer. Gretchen was riding well, but she was away in a break with two pro riders from Italy, who ganged up on her in the end. This year, the Italians showed up in full force, and we were hoping the same thing didn’t happen again.
The women’s race started out fast
Eleonore had it in her to win, and I was hoping the loss in the qualifier wasn't getting inside her head. The Italians pushed the pace. The front group was smaller each lap, but nobody could get away.
Esther is highly fit but usually builds her pace from a slower start. By the halfway point, she was hammering away at the front of the group to help Eleonore if any work needed to be done. In the end, it was a mad dash for the finish line.
Esther finished twelfth and took the top antagonist award. Sperotto won the race, with Eleonore finishing fifth. But Eleonore held her lead over Raphaele, and the women won the team competition.
The men’s qualifiers were unusual
Our men were in the same race. Only the top five went into the Superpole, and it would be tough to get all four of our men in it. Olivier found himself in a two-man break to win the qualifier, with Dave in fifth. Tristan and Isaac were seventh and fourteenth, both starting farther back on the grid than I would like. Those two had their work cut out for them.
Two laps into the men’s race, a break formed
It was strong move with UCI pro tour rider, Ivan Cortina, and Italian rider, Alessandro Mariani, but the pack didn’t have a big sense of urgency early in the race. But Mariani and Cortina quickly grew their lead to twelve seconds.
The way these breakaways often gain ground is this: the breakaway gets ten seconds on the field, then the field drives hard and makes up three of those seconds. Then, a rider (or several riders) refuse to pull through, and the breakaway gains five seconds.
Now, the pack did all that work to gain three seconds, but finds that the motivated and smooth breakaway has increased the lead from ten seconds to twelve. If this happens again and again, the pack is in trouble. That is exactly what happened in this race. This made for an interesting (as well as negative) dynamic.
The breakaway slowly built their lead to around 30 seconds. Both Cinelli and Bahumer teams refused to work. Cinelli rider, David Vigiano, had a slim lead in the points series, and Bahumer rider, Filippo Fortin, was within striking distance. The two riders up the road were no threat to the overall and once they were away, Vigiano and Fortin concentrated on beating each other, more than winning the race.
From my vantage point, I saw Cinelli and Bahumer riders refusing to pull through on multiple occasions. There were plenty of riders going to the front and chasing, but a concerted effort was needed to pull back those two riders up ahead. And with two of the strongest teams refusing to work, the breakaway slowly grew their lead.
Cortina finished first, and our best rider, Tristan, finished 4th. While didn’t win the race, our men handily won the team competition and walked away with a trophy at the podium ceremony.
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The podium ceremony was a good one for us that night
Eleonore took both the Superpole and the series win, while Esther stepped up to take the top antagonist award. Aventon took both the men’s and women’s team competitions, a first in the Red Hook Crit series. It was a night to celebrate for sure, and we had a big night out on the town. Many of the riders were out until the sun came up. A few went straight to breakfast at the hotel the next morning.
That’s ok, because, on Monday, we were already thinking about 2018.
Photos credits: @gingerbeard_photo