Although many thought that RHC BK 10 would be the battle between Colin Strickland and Aldo Ino Ilesic, it ended up to be a battle between Colin Strickland and Stefan Schafer. Aldo did play a massive role; he was the main protector of the break in the pack taking on exactly the same role as last year. A role he has proven time and again he excels in. Stefan’s way to the final was a remarkable one as he had a flat tire in the heat. He was then allowed to start all the way in the back as he had GC points from last year. Stefan then qualified for the Final to start all the way from the back again. We can only speculate how Stefan must have experienced this turbulent day, so the best thing to do is get a statement from the RHC BK 10 Champion himself!
Stefan, how did you experience RHC BK 10?
RHC BK 10 was the best redhook for me so far! The course was amazing, the crowd and before and after the race I had an unforgettable time and made new friends! My qualification heat 3 was pretty easy because it was over after 2 laps due to a flat tire. However, at the end, the bigger bad luck for me was the crash of Eamon in the final lap in his heat! I knew right now that he needs the win in the Last Chance Race more than me!! So I did my Job to get him in 1st position at the end.
For Eamon it was his first RHC and I already know how it is to start from the back and I can tell you, it does not feel good. In the Final I made my way to the front faster and easier than I expected…my plan was to be in front after 10 laps! I think I needed only 8! I covered 2 or 3 attacks and then went Colin. I had a quick eyecontact with Aldo which “said” you need to get him back, quick! So I pushed pretty hard and was a bit “unlucky” when I realised that no one was behind me, and I went almost 100% to bridge the gap.
Together with Colin I was in the break and in the first 2 laps I must have been a terrible partner in the breakaway. I didn’t accelerate, my leading was short, I wasn’t even sure if it was the right move to go with Colin, but as I watched in the faces of my teammates after the hairpins I was sure that I had to go! In the end, we worked pretty well together, and it seemed to me that Colin got more and more tired towards the end so I planned my attack. The funny thing was that Colin attacked at the same spot at the same time when I wanted to, so i just accelerate up to his speed and kept the gap of about 15 meters. I saw that he was pushing 100% and I still felt strong, so I reduced the gap during the hairpins and while we were going into the headwind section I pushed as hard as I could to close the gap. With the help of the slipstream I could overtake him with a higher speed so he couldn’t get into my slipstream anymore! This victory means a lot more to me than the one from Milan!
I ride now for my dreamteam and we all work for each other, and of course the battle with Colin was awesome as it gives me a true insight to see how good my performance can be! I enjoyed every lap in the breakaway with him!
BTW: what’s more impressive for me is that Aldo reached his 5th 3rd Place in a row!