The Red Hook Criterium served up a night of crashes and carnage as both the men’s and women’s fields saw riders hit the deck in nasty pileups Saturday. Texan Colin Strickland (Allez Allez – Specialized) and Spaniard Ainara Elbusto (Conor WRC) survived the crashes to win the men’s and women’s races, respectively, at the annual fixed-gear event in Brooklyn, New York.
The men’s event was delayed twice due to mass pileups shortly after the gun, the first of which occurred after an official’s motorbike stalled near the start line. Half of the field managed to speed around the stalled motorcycle before several riders struck the bike, leading to a huge crash.
Race organizer said that four riders were transferred away from the race in ambulances. The race start was delayed nearly an hour afterward as officials waited for additional ambulances to return to the racecourse, Trimble said.
“It was extremely unfortunate,” said race organizer David Trimble. “This was a new situation for us.”
Due to the delays, the men’s race was shortened to 22 laps. Midway through the race, Strickland attacked from the front group and quickly built a 15-second advantage on the field. With his teammate Aldo Ilesic marking moves, Strickland was able to grow his advantage to 25 seconds by the final lap.
The women’s race came down to a bunch kick, which Elbusto won just ahead of Ash Duban (Affinity Cycles). The duo survived a sizable crash on the penultimate lap, which saw nearly half of the women’s front group crash into hay bales.
The race celebrated its ninth edition in Red Hook with a sizable crowd at the Red Hook cruise terminal, new corporate sponsorships with Specialized and Strava, and a 5km running race. Former U.S. criterium champion Daniel Holloway made his debut in the men’s field, finishing 5th.
Trimble launched the race in 2008 with a dozen participants racing on open streets.