Specialized/Rocket-Espresso signed Red Hook Criterium London No.3 winner and RHC 2017 Series runner up, Raphaele Lemieux. She will team up with Carla Nafria. In 2017, Raphaele Lemieux became the first Canadian to win a Red Hook Crit when riding for the Canadian Team Ibike. With the signing of Lemieux for Specialized/Rocket-Espresso and Lisa Wörner for Aventon Factory Team it looks like the Red Hook Criterium 2018 Series will have some strong female blocks in the game. So far Ash Duban, another top RHC contender, has not announced her plans for 2018 yet, thus it remains unsure if a third strong block will appear in the female RHC peloton.
“The 2018 Red Hook is almost here! Thanks so much to everyone who helped me to get here today. You know who you are. I feel the whole local community behind me! I’m super proud to come from Montreal and to have the opportunity to represent the scene. I just love to ride crit. It’s so much action and so fast you just need to react and follow your instinct. I’m really excited to ride with Carla. It’s easy to forget that cycling is a team sport and Carla is a shredder. I’m stoked to ride with Specialized – Rocket Espresso and I can’t wait until the snow melts!!”
Josh Gieni, Team Director and owner Velo Ibike
“Specialized/Rocket-Espresso wasn’t her first offer but it was her last. What can we do? It’s a David and Goliath situation. We are a small team trying to push the limits in a quickly developing sport and with the increasing exposure the big guns are buying their way in. The RHC and fixed gear racing has gone from underground alley-cat heritage to semi-pro contracts that allow athletes to concentrate even more on the racing. I am excited to witness where it will go. I have asked Mr. Trimble a few times about when he will take the show to the X-Games. It’s sad we lost Raph, but the only thing that will change is her bike and her suit. She will still be training with us, she will still be under our tent for all our local races and with her help we will still be working hard to develop the sport and the local talent that has the ambitions to achieve big dreams. Raph will still inspire us and we will still support her in a way that helps her perform for her new team. The lines where business, pleasure, ROI, values, and ethics start to cross is where people define themselves. Raph has an admirable definition! #GoRaphGo”