Red Hook Criterium just released the men’s and women’s the qualification heats. For the last RHC a slight change in the division of the heats is made. The top 5 RHC GC riders are separated over the 5 heats and each rider with RHC GC points has his teammates in the heat. We analysed the men’s heats to break-down what we can expect from the battles for the RHC Milano No.8 heat points and final spots. As in the women’s field there are only 2 heats and everyone in the has a guaranteed starting spot in the final we limited this analysis to the men’s field only.
Text: Brian Megens
Heat 1: Aventon Factory Team vs Cykeln Divisione Corse
RHC GC top rider: Tristan Uhl
Teammates: David Santos, Olivier Leroy, Isaac Howe
Tristan Uhl didn’t get an RHC podium this year, but his 5th place in the RHC GC shows that he has been up there. Tristan will have a strong team to support him with Santos and Leroy. They will have to battle it out with Cykeln Divisione Corse riders Martino Poccianti who is sitting in 6th position in the RHC GC, Matteo Cecchini, Marco Poccianti, and Roberto Pagliaccia. Another athlete with RHC points is Euan Cattermole. Felix Lhenry is a strong rider that might take advantage of the two teams battling it out amongst each other.
Heat 2: Intelligentsia Racing vs Specialized/Rocket-Espresso
RHC GC top rider: Colin Strickland
Teammates: Marius Petrache, Kevin Girkins, Cesar Valenzuela
Colin Strickland goes into the last RHC as the #4. So far, Colin had a year with ups and downs, but a big win is still missing. In Milan, the only RHC he didn’t win last year, Colin wants to end his fixed gear crit season in style. In the heat, he will have the support of the whole Intelligentsia Racing team. Despite Intelligentsia Racing being one of the strongest teams in the RHC circuit, it won’t be a walk in the park for them as this heat is packed with skilled riders and is likely to turn into an Intelligentsia Racing VS Specialized Rocket-Espresso battle as their whole team is in heat two. Besides these riders Daniele Callegarin, Jesus Alberto, Luis Junquera, Kaj Verhaegh, Edwin Van Kerkhof, and Alessandro Mariani are riders with RHC GC points that might be able to take advantage from the two top teams fighting each other. On top of these 13 with points, other powerful riders that did not get RHC points yet for various reasons are Luc Ducrot, Joern Bucklitsch, Bram Linnartz, Andy Shackel, Andrea Vassallo, and Javier Benitez. In short, Heat #2 is probably the hardest heat to win and to qualify for the RHC M8 final.
Heat 3: 8bar vs the rest
RHC GC top rider: Davíd van Eerd
Teammates: Tim Ceresa, Stefan Schott, Nico Hesslich
Davíd van Eerd proved in Barcelona that he can also win at the highest level. Currently, he sits in 3rd place in the GC and the 3 points waiting for the heat winner is something Davíd probably has his mind set on. With Tim Ceresa he finds the teammate that together with him went home with all prizes in RHC Barcelona 5. On top of that, 8bar has Stefan Schott and Nico Hesslich that can support Davíd. Although, besides van Eerd, no other top-10 RHC GC rider is in this heat. Fierce competitors are Robin Gemperle, Emanuele Poli, Riccardo Melandri, Adrien Merkt, Brian Megens who has won 2 qualifying heats this RHC season, Yvan Morf, Thibaud Lhenry who is a former RHC winner, Augusto Reati, Nicolas Cote, and Ivan Cortina the UCI World-Tour rider for Bahrain Merida. Supernova Factory Team and Team Schindelhauer Gates are well represented in this heat and they might be able to do team tactics. Next to Davíd’s battle for the heat points, it will be very interesting to see how Ivan Cortina holds up.
Heat 4: Team Bahumer vs the rest
RHC GC top rider: Filippo Fortin
Teammates: Giovanni Longo, Alvise Zanasca, Omar Bertazzo, Andrea Tincani, Nicolo Zanasca
FFilippo Fortin is the closest competitor for Davide Vigano. He is the only rider in this RHC season that has won all his qualification heats so far. On top of that, in the three RHC races this year it became clear that the Bahumer Racing team always rides with a clear mission. In London, Zanasca and Longo helped Fortin in securing the win. In Barcelona, the latter won his heat after fantastic teamwork of both Zanasca and Longo. However, Zanasca and Longo crashed and were not able to help Fortin much in the final due to an unfavourable start position. With competition coming from Timon Seubert, George Garnier, Nico Keinath, Alex Blomeley, Johannes Killisperger, Matteo Sangalli, and Yannick Mayer it won’t be a small task for Team Bahumer to secure the win. However, with the track record of Fortin, it seems hardly imaginable that with the help of his whole team the mission for this heat won’t be executed.
Heat 5 Team Cinelli-Chrome vs the rest
RHC GC top rider: Davide Vigano
Teammates: Paolo Bravini, Ivan Ravaioli
Davide Vigano goes into RHC M8 as the Red Hook Crit leader in the general classification. In many RHC finals, Davide had to fight other teams on his own. In his heat, he will have the support of Bravini, and former RHC series winner Ravaioli. On top of that, this heat features the least amount of RHC riders with points making it a very attainable win for Vigano, on paper. However, William Lewis, Luca Ursino, and Michael Capati will be keen on a heat win too and will do everything to make it as hard as possible for Team Cinelli-Chrome.
For the full qualification heats click here