As narrated the verses of a famous Milanese folk song: “tut el mond l’e’ paes, se, d’acord; ma Milan l’e’ on gran Milan” (everyone is country, we are agree, however Milan is a great Milan!), referring to it as a unique city.
An old phrase that, despite the time, yet timeless and continues to reflect reality. If something happens in Milan, certainly not go unnoticed.
This year, as in previous editions, the Italian city has offered an incredible atmosphere. Bovisa neighborhood with its gray streets and its industrial style has been again the perfect scene for the most expected race of the year, which ended a full emotive season, with falls and an exciting finale. The Red Hook Crit Milano No. 5 had come and promised to be epic.
The weather forecast for the weekend was disastrous; storm has been announced for the race-day and rain on both days. Nerves among runners were palpable; everyone was tense and very aware of the sky.
Saturday dawns rainy but not in the way that was expected, it was with much less intensity and by midmorning, even the rain stopped.
Was time to start the round of rankings, the floor was wet and puddles. The girls gave the starting signal and cautiously were getting used to the situation. By each lap runners increased the pace a bit. Ainara Elbusto, RHC Barcelona No.2 winner, suffered a spectacular fall while trying to mark her lap. The blow was hard however she was unwilling to miss the great race. The rest of the girls finished their classification without mishaps.
It was the turn of the boys, starting with the group six where RAW Track Cycling Team and Pista Barcelona were part, among others. Both were not much lucky, due to wet floor and small misunderstandings with some newcomers with little experience in racing, they couldn’t play a good role in the classification minutes.
They go by different groups, grew adrenaline and tension. Times, rollers, happy glances to look at their results or people who are desperate for not reaching their expectatives.
The Red Hook Crit Milano still remains the essence of street race. Some people sitting on the floor, some others were controlling several times the application of each round and some others taking a beer. Photographers and filmmakers were capturing the pre-race between the tents of several teams. It highlighted the television channel presence and mainstream magazine.
Round after round, and with the increasingly dry asphalt, it was the time of the group one, where the strongest and fastest runners meet. The riders clamp jaw shut and pull out their full potential. They rushed braking, gave the last drop in the sprints crossing the finish line, risked increasing and pushed the limit. Falls were not missing and three riders have to be transferred to the hospital by ambulance, there are only two of them and this generates a little moment of chaos, the classification has been stopped for more than an hour and when resumed, some runners didn’t have time to get into the final, one of them was Stefan Vis from F.A.S.T Team, Amsterdam.
The problems lead to other problems, due to some mismatch in times, people began to rumor about the possible cancellation of the Last Chance Race, this was the case, and finally the organization decided to communicate the cancellation of this race. As expected, a significant part of the teams and riders got angry and no shortage of controversy. To be honest we should not dramatize an episode and not crucify the organization in such a situation where everything was complicated. Show must go on!
There is no place for complaints and disagreements, the track is now speaking. Start the race and it’s like a slap across the face … Ash Duban, Fleur Faure, Stefania Baldi and Ainara Elbusto make it clear from the first pedal stroke going all out, break the group in the first round, setting a awesome pace. Past few laps head race down the rate a bit, and Sandra Jordà reached after a huge effort and by herself, shaping ten seconds of distance between her and the group leader.
Ecuador’s race approached, and the first racers started again to step on the gas pedal and escape again. Fleur, Ash, Stefania and Ainara set the pace on the top of the race with regular changes and reached the finish line almost in peloton.
In the final Sprint Ash Duban preceded few meters the incredible Ainara Elbusto, Fleur Faure and Stefania Baldi. We can say that at this time this group represents the best of world cycling criterium level of fixed gear.
Fifth position and an awesome race for our rider Sandra J. Pascó followed by Vittoria Reati; both demonstrated in their second Network Hook that they have a lot of talent.
Jo Celso after a great victory in New York was the favorite one, bad luck and an accident made not easy her role during qualifies, but it made us happy to see her again in the starting line.
In general terms each of the riders contributed that the RHC Women’s was a success, Stefania with her endless courage and bravery, Fleur with her explosiveness, Ash with her class, Sandra with her energy and aggressiveness, Vittoria with her talent … It was a great show! Bravo to all!
Night has fallen on Bovisa and silence is cut by a knife, is the most expected moment of the weekend; in half an hour of curves, falls and speed the season success or failure will be decided. Death or Glory!
The public surrounded the circuit. According to the organization about 7,000 people in the most amazing curves are crowded as “tifosi”. The expected event is approaching. The famous countdown began, and increased the tension and adrenaline: five, four, three, two, one…Gooo !!!!
The circuit of Milan, in the absence of hairpin (180 *) is probably the fastest of the series. Guess who won the “Breakfast”?, that’s it gentlemen! “El Chino” once again! He maintained its reputation of Eddie Mercx in the first round, amazing!
The group ate up the wet pavement of the night during an awesome half an hour. As we have used to the riders of MASH, CINELLI, IRIDE, SUPERNOVA, IN’BO teams gave us a show to make up the race group. At the head Chas, Julio Padilla, Eduard Grosu, Ravaioli, Mario, in the same group remained Augusto Reati, Neil Bezdek, reaching half of the race the group is subdivided into several bunches. Closed to the leading group there were Bruzza, Bravini, Martucci and Pablo Rodriguez.
The first ones managed to open a good hollow, some groups fight to reach to the most nearby bunch, whereas others do it in order to not being reached by the safety motorcycle that decrees the overtake and the automatic exclusion.
Last laps full of gas, another arrival is expected in “volata” or “al spinta”, so it was! So for the second consecutive year Eduard Grosu from (Team Doppiozero) got to put the wheels of his bicycle in front of all, the second Ivan Ravaioli from (Team Chiodo fisso of marchi) and third Julio Padilla from (Stimulate Stage). Thibaud Lhenry leader of the general stayed in 16th position, with a great brave character.
The Red Hook Milano No. 5 has been different to some aspects in relation to the previous one. The level during the last year has grown exponentially and many riders pro and ex–pro they are approaching to this new discipline, in some case with scanty results, in others, adapting perfectly and obtaining victories and good results.
On the podium there were only happiness, champagne and shouts.
Great triumph of Ainara Elbusto from Reyno de Navarra team, who at 22 years old is the first girl to win the Red Hook Crit series, thanks to an undisputed victory in Barcelona and a second place in Milan taste of a miracle after the fall during the classification. Second place for Ash Duban showed all her class winning the race with great authority. Third place for the French women Fleur Faure who has been protagonist of the Criteriums of this summer in Europe and of course of the RHC Series.
Without doubts, the main protagonist, was Thibaud Lhenry. Few of us before the race in Brooklyn would bet on a French victory. Thibaud has played an impeccable season after the triumph in New York, he has managed to run with a clear mind and manage his advantage. “El chino” (Mario Paz Duque), demonstrated during the whole season that he is not only a specialist of “prime”, but he is a complete rider and he knows to be in the strong group, in addition to collaborating with his team (IRIDE) to win the title, his second position is the most well-deserved. The Guatemalan Julio Padilla third absolute position has been presented in the series with great style, winning Barcelona and being third in Milan, we are confident that we will talk again about him during the next season. We also want to mention to Augusto Reati in the list of the major lead riders in 2014, fourth position in the general classification and protagonist of a full gas season and always near the great result.
The glory is all for IRIDE Squadra Corse team! Congratulations to all the members of the team! Nicholas Varani, Tommaso Nolli, Mario Paz Duke, Enrico Biganzolli, Samuele Cai and Gabriele Grazioli. And a big applause to Walter and Matteo as the creators of this great team. Bravo!
As every year in the finish line of Milan new reflections have been come, while volunteers disassembled the box and we said goodbye to the Red Hook Crit Series 2014, the question which many people formulated was: “where will end all of this?”
2014 has been a year of deep changes, RHC carry on growing and exciting. Today we don’t have a real answer, just look forward to seeing what will be the news for 2015, if as rumored, London shall be the fourth city to put up one more race circuit, if there will be substantial changes if this race that travels around of the world and draws every time more passionated of cycling, will remain as the urban cycling race Queen or if it will try to make the leap to a more professional context. At the moment are only reflections and hypotheses.
Congratulations to David Trimble and all his STAFF for the excellent work done during the Red Hook Crit series 2014.