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Best Buddies goes one-two on Juneteenth in Harlem Classic

Rodriguez wary after extending lead in Criterium Cup Series: 'We know anything can happen in the coming races.'

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Best Buddies finished one-two at the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic.

Alfredo Rodriguez took the top step, followed by his teammate Danny Estevez. Rodriguez extended his lead in the American Criterium Series, since his victory in the opening race at Sunny King. Clever Martinez was third for Miami Blazers.

Amidst the rich diversity in New York City, Best Buddies celebrated their win, feeling at home with so many Latinos in the crowd.

“The race and atmosphere were beautiful,” Rodriguez said after his win. “The cycling fans were so happy to have the race there. New York is such a diverse city with so many cultures, there were so many Mexicans and Colombians; every type of Latino was represented.”

Also read: Michael Hernandez finds niche racing crits and directing Best Buddies Racing

The race organization made an announcement Saturday canceling the expected live stream to the disappointment of many race fans cheering from afar. The cancellation had been due to filming permit conflicts within the area.

The pro men raced the final event of the day, but had their race time reduced to one hour, the same as the pro women. The cut was due to some crashes that occurred in previous amateur races that forced the race organization to delay the start to the pro categories in order to secure the course.

Soon after the race began, Best Buddies were quick to organize on the front according to their plan for the day to control the race. Like with the women’s race, Best Buddies kept active on the front of the field, preventing any attempt at a break from sticking.

“Once it began, the teamed came together right away and began setting the tempo to control the race,” Rodriguez said. “With seven laps to go, riders began to attack. As the fight for positioning began it started to get a little dangerous, but that’s normal in some races. We did our best to get things under control again, to ensure the place we had from the beginning.”

Nearing two laps to go, L39ion of Los Angeles’ Ty Magner came from behind, launching an attack. Best Buddies Michael Hernandez was quick to counter, with Bryan Gomez in tow. They shut L39ion down with one lap to go, getting their lead out train organized for the finale.

“We remained patient and decided that it was time to make our move, with Michael Hernandez and Bryan Gomez leading us out,” Rodriguez said. “In the final lap as we were rounding the third turn, I told Bryan it was time to jump for the finish. Danny was behind me, and so in the final corner we began our lead out and came out with the result.”

Other notable finishers included Robin Carpenter of Human Powered Health in fourth, Corey Williams was the top finisher for L39ion in seventh. Justin Williams finished 16th in his first race finish since returning from injury. Overall series results had not been calculated prior to publication.

“We are happy to have been able to fight for the win, and extend our lead in the series,” Rodriguez said. “This has been our objective for the season, to win the American Criterium Cup. We extended our lead but we still have a lot to go. We know anything can happen in the coming races.”