Fixed Gear Crit

Alessandro Mariani “It was unique with the crowd cheering harder and harder lap after lap”

Although he didn’t win Red Hook Criterium Milano No.8, Alessandro Mariani was the big surprise of the evening as he didn’t only win the prime lap, he attacked straight after it and by doing so he was responsible for setting-up the duo break-away together with Ivan Cortina. The two of them kept off the whole RHC field and only in the final lap Mariani had to let Ivan go and settle for 2nd place. As both riders are only 21 years old, RHC Milano No.8 was the evening for the young. Despite his young age, Alessandro Mariani, born and raised in Milan, has been on the bike for 13 years. From 2013 until 2016 Alessandro competed in several pro road races in Italy and in 2015 he was part of the UCI Continental Team Idea 2010 ASD. He considers his stage win in the Tour du Leman as his best result on the bike so far. Mariani had great expectations for the 2017 RHC series but a crash in Brooklyn and a flat in Barcelona ruined his chances for a good GC. Although Mariani knew that his role for the GC was done, he didn’t want to disappoint in his hometown. “After my crash in New York and the flat in Barcelona I was just looking for redemption. I was in my town, in front of friends and family. I had to give my best.”

Text: Michele Colucci / vimeo: michele colucciinstagram: mikelone77 and Brian Megens

It was also in Milan where his fixed gear crit career started. “I discovered fixed gears about 6-7 years ago and got my first one to ride the town and go out with friends. The first time I heard about Red Hook Crit was 4 years ago in Milan, there were loads of pictures and videos on the internet. I basically decided to race it after I experienced it as a spectator in Milan. I was blown away by how spectators can feel its adrenaline rush, and I promised myself I had to race it the following year.” Since Red Hook Criterium Milano No.6 Alessandro is part of the legendary IRD squad.

In the weeks prior to Red Hook Criterium Milano No.8 Alessandro “trained both on road and track bike, short yet intense training sessions to maximize strength. I also competed in several races towards the end of the season, it really helped in improving my condition.”

In the heats it is always hard to balance out how much risk and energy the rider has to give in order to qualify well for the final. Alessandro had a clear plan “I decided not to take risks and tried to stay with the top ten, wheel sucking to save energies since a long, hard day was ahead of me. But I did join the final sprint to see how my legs would react.”

Alessandro qualified for the Super Pole. Up until to RHC Milano No.8 he had never gone full gas in a hot lap. “You can compare the Super Pole to the 1km time trial on the track. It’s a massive effort before the final which requires a proper warm up, and you have to cool down properly afterwards as well. Up until Milan I didn’t feel like I could win it, so I opted for saving my energies. But Milan’s fast track suits me better and I wanted to catch the rider in front of me, I wanted the pole position.” He surprised the field with a 2nd place, “it gave me the perfect motivation for the final.”


Starting from 2nd position in front of his home crowd the expectations were high. “Every time I pin the number on my skinsuit I want to win. I wanted to lay it all on the line, I wanted to have fun and I wanted all of the spectators who came to cheer to enjoy it as well.” Mariani started the show with winning the prime lap but he didn’t stop there “Right after the 1st lap prime I kept a high cadence afraid to loose positions. A small gap was created instead, and I found myself attacking together with Ivan Cortina.”

Although they both speak different languages, they found each other quickly. “We talked about the pace we wanted to keep, we really pushed as hard as we could on the 2nd and 3rd lap in order for the rest of the pack to not see us.” (…) It was unique, with the crowd cheering harder and harder lap after lap…the problem was the lap counter. The last lap was still really far away and there were lots of laps ahead of us. I initially thought that it couldn’t be a winning breakaway. It was only passed mid-race, with the gap increasing, that I realized we had good chances to make it until the end. In the final laps, we used all energies we had left. My plan was to win the sprint, but the legs just didn’t react as they did in the first laps. When Ivan sprinted on the last lap, I wasn’t able to close the gap.”

Michele Colucci
Dead Cyclists Society
Copywriter & Videomaker
vimeo: michele colucci
instagram: mikelone77