RACE REPORT: BY SEAN BURKE
We go to every single race with a plan to win it. The team was looking great and feeling fast in our Eliel skinsuits and our new Cordoba frames. Aventon is focused on making fast bikes that anyone can afford, and the new Cordobas are plenty fast, so we had no excuses. The field is stronger and stronger at these races each year, but I also believe we have some great riders that can hold their own against anyone out there.
The Women’s Race
In the women’s race, I was relying mostly on Sammi and Eleonore for the results, with Kym , Nissy, and Esther riding in a support role. The results from the qualifiers and super pole showed us that this plan was spot on. Both Eleonore and Sammi easily won their heats, and then Elenore crushed the super pole lap to handily be the top qualifier. This is the second time in 2 races that Eleonore has been the top qualifier. She asked me if she could join our team before the Milan race last year, and I told her we would see how she did in the race. She qualified first there, and we both knew the answer to that question before the final even began.
So with Sammi and Eleonore showing their fitness, I was confident that could take home the win this one. The first lap didn’t go so well. There was a big crash and a pile up, so I ran to the start to check on the riders. Sammi had taken a solid fall, and nearly everything on her bike was crooked. I jumped the fence and got her going again, but she restarted the race with a broken saddle.
The race restarted and that first lap was lightning fast. Sammi didn’t get a great start, and was probably still hurting from her spill. Eleanor was looking confident and staying near the pointy end of the race. Sammi eventually worked her way to the front, and even took a couple of solid digs, but Esther and Nissy seemed to be struggling a bit and were constantly hampered by crashes.
The race was aggressive, but the main field stayed together with no rider able to escape the surging pack. Eleonore was well positioned with 1 to go, and I had my fingers crossed that she could close the deal. In the end though, Colleen Gulick was just too fast, but Eleanor was a solid second. We always want the win, but along with second place, Eleonore scored enough points in winning her heat and the superpole that she is now series points leader, and the other women finished high enough to ensure a strong leads in the women’s team competition. Eleonore is obviously the team leader, and we’ll be looking to put her on the top step in London.
Tristan won his heat, while David and Olivier both took third in theirs. David did great in the super pole, and earned a third place on the starting grid. Past results and the qualifiers told me that along with Aventon, the top four teams were: Specialized/Rocket Espresso, Intelligentsia, and Bahumer. Cinelli Chrome didn’t qualify all that well, but they would probably be 5th on that list.
Our plan going into the race was to get Olivier, Tristan, or Dave into a break with one or more of the riders of the top 4 teams. With Tolley and Isaac running support. If one of our guys got away with an Intelligentsia and a Specialized rider, the rest of the pack would surely be racing for third. Marius Petrache from Intelligentsia attacked off the gun. He likely knew he wouldn’t stay away, but his job was to soften up the other teams About 8 laps in, Colin from Intelligentsia and Stefan from Specialized got away and got a small gap. At that point, I wasn’t overly concerned, as they were only 8 seconds away for several laps, and still within striking distance. When your team misses the move like that, you do everything possible to get across to it. You even risk blowing up and not finishing if you have to. We didn’t come to race for third, so Tristan and Dave both tried to get across, but they just couldn’t make it. Olivier was near the front, but couldn’t summon the strength to lay down an attack. Meanwhile Tolley and Isaac sat mid-pack, working hard to move up. Cinelli Chrome took a few strong pulls and tried to bring back the break as did Addison Zawada and some other strong riders, but to my surprise, the Bahumer guys were nowhere to be found.
In the end, the gap to the break grew, and I realized that the move was gone. There was a crash and a restart with 5 to go, and that that point I thought there was a tiny chance that we might bring that break back. In the end, the break stuck, and Aldo Ilsec won the field sprint to take third place, and our best finisher was Tristan in 7th place. I was not happy with those results, and I know the guys aren’t either. These guys are all bike racers, and 7th place isn’t satisfactory for them. I know we have the equipment and the talent to reach that top step, and that the guys will be extra motivated for London.
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