Upon arrival at the venue our riders were surprised by the facilities of the Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park, built 100% for cycling at the 2012 Olympics, full of bike tracks for both road bike, bmx, mbt and also with a roofed Olympic velodrome.
Once settled and prepared, the concentration and nerves began to spread to our riders. This year, the Thunder Crit London counted with virtually all the top European riders who also participate in the Red Hook, names like Alec Briggs (Specialized Rocker Spreeso), Bryan Megens (Fixedgearcrit.com) and Alessandro Mariani (IRD Carrera Squadra Corse) And Jo Smith (British Open champion Grass track), Brooke Philips (East London Fixed), Hayley Edwards (StandRidge bicycles) …among many other riders. All showed that the Thunder Crit London 2017 was going to take place at the highest level.
The first race of the day was the men’s qualification. Marco Hita was in the leaders group during the entire race, archiving the more than comfortable 4th position. As for Alex de Cortada, he ended up losing from the main group, because of a wrong gear-ratio choice, failing to qualify for the final, but was still able to qualify for the “Minor Final”.
Then it was the turn of the girls, where Francisca Campos ran his qualifying entering a comfortable 5th position. For her, it was the perfect warm-up to know the circuit, change relations and think about tactics to follow in the final.
The Minor Final was held, just before the women’s final. Where our rider Alex, after a good warm up, change of gears on the bike and with some race advice from his experienced teammates, he was ready for the revenge. He started very well and managed to stay in the top 5 group for the whole race. As the bell rang to warn the racers for the last lap, Alex managed to get some extra pace at the final sprint and cross the line in the 2nd place.
Right after that, the women’s final was held. Francisca started the race in a good position, keeping up with the “primes” through all the 12 round. However the strong Jo Smith managed to overcome in the final meters. As nobody in the lead group attacked, the race was decided in the final sprint, at the last round. Francisca was in good position to be able to give everything in the last meters. When crossing the finish line just, she finished as fifth, within one second of the first.
Our rider Marco was already ready for the Titans race. From the start gun, he kept up with the lead squad and seemed very focused and comfortable throughout the race. After several solo attacks, the group continued to advance and he was the one who dominated the race; two laps before the finish, he was in the 5th position. Alec Briggs of the Specialized team started a lone attack which took him to the final. Right after him, came the group in where they decided the final positions in the last sprint. Marco crossed the finish line as 12th, very close to the podium.
The summary of the race: good feelings and state of form, our veterans Francisca and Marco, noted that the criterium had top riders at worldwide level, crossing the finish line at the top of the first line shows that our riders are in good form and are more than capable of rubbing shoulders to reach podiums at an international level. Our rookie Alex, even if he had a bad first heat, returned to Barcelona with a good feelings because he was able to achieve the podium in the Minor Final in his first criterium race. He had never participated in such a race, which was perfect for gaining experience.