It was a battle between sprinter’s teams and lone wolves at the San Rafael Twilight Criterium on Saturday. In the end the sprinters won with Ricky Escuela (Full Circle) winning the bunch sprint ahead of Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ/Pista Palace), making it the third year in a row that Bahati took second. Eric Marcotte (SKLZ/Pista Palace) was third.
Unfortunately, like many battles, men went down in multiple crashes throughout the very fast 70-minute race. On the second lap, so many riders from the 120+ field were caught up in a crash that the officials neutralized the race for about twenty minutes. When re-started the lone wolves attacked non-stop with Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optumhealth) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL) the most active off the front. Others trying their luck multiple times included Kirk Carlsen (Chipotle Development), Freddie Rodriguez (Exergy) and Roman Kilun (Kenda/5-Hour-Energy). Nothing stuck.
On the other side, Steve Reaney (CalGiant) covering move after move working for his young teammate Benny Swedberg until Dan Ramsey (Full Circle) took over the front with 10 laps to go. The bunch sprint was on but not before Jacques-Maynes and Anthony gave it another go separately with Anthony disrupting the organization in the final laps. And one final crash with three laps to go before the final sprint.
Stay tuned for more photos.
Ricky Escuela (Full Circle). “Our team was at the front with about ten to go or so. As the race progressed, coming down to the last three or four laps, other teams went to the front. I knew it was going fast enough that the attacks would not get away. Jesse Anthony was very good. I was on Bahati’s wheel coming out of the last corner. Bahati opened the gap on Marcotte. I attacked out of the corner, around Rahsaan and was able to come around him at the finish line. ” (as translated by Ramsey)
Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ/Pista Palace). “I had really good position. I came out of the second to last turn third wheel, Eric was on the front, Rodriguez was in front of me and he let Eric go in the downhill before the last turn. When we got to the last turn, Eric had a pretty good gap so I just sat there a little bit and Ricky made a good instinct move, as soon as I sat up he went and it was hard to get that gear going with the momentum he had. I kind of thought I could close it but he’s a very fast sprinter, that was it, a great move.”
About the race the past three years. “They’ve been all different. This year was totally strange with all the unfortunate crashes. If I could suggest one thing, they should make this race 100 km, by after 80km, the field would be 40 guys, it would really narrow it down. I think the winner would be a proven winner with 100 km because those are two hours and this would be a great course to do it, it’s good, it wears on you.”
Dan Ramsey (Full Circle). “Barlevav had free rein to do what he wanted because he was another fast guy. We’re riding to win, it doesn’t matter how we win, and we feel that we could win out of a break or in bunch sprint. ”
Top 10 Men Pro/1/2 Results (Complete Results)
1. Ricky Escuela (Full Circle Sports)
2. Rahsaan Bahati (Sklz P/B Pista Palace)
3. Eric Marcotte (SKLZ p/b Pista Palace)
4. Eric Barlevav (Full Circle Cycling)
5. Logan Loader (Ride Clean P/B Patentit.com)
6. Benjamin Swedberg (Cal Giant/Specialized)
7. Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
8. Christopher Jones (Rapha-FOCUS)
9. Charles Hutcheson (XO COMMUNICATIONS / BATTLEY HA)
10. Sterling Magnell (McGuire Cycling Team)