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Bezdek Wins Record-Breaking Fourth Red Hook Criterium at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Bezdek Wins Red Hook Criterium Navy Yard in Brooklyn

Neil Bezdek defended his title as the Red Hook Criterium champion by winning the inaugural Red Hook Crit Navy Yard race on Saturday night before a large crowd.

Bezdek, 28, out-sprinted lone breakaway companion Kyle Murphy after 45 minutes and 26 laps of racing on a technical, 1.25-kilometer course.

About a minute later Marc Marino won the sprint for third ahead of break companions Alexander Barouh and Cooper Ray, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

“Just look around,” Bezdek told cyclingreporter after winning. “Bike racing really doesn’t get any more fun than this.

“This venue, this race, everything about it. It’s just my favorite. It’s so good. I’m really happy.”

One hundred riders started the Red Hook Crit but only five officially finished the race, which saw the fastest riders create unclosable gaps early on the technical, narrow course that featured multiple turns and a cobblestoned chicane.

There were multiple crashes during the race and in the qualifying heats held earlier in the evening, the most serious of which sent a rider to the hospital in an ambulance. He was reported to be in stable condition but official details were unavailable.

As most of the pack struggled to make it to the front in what was effectively a high-speed, single-file race, early leaders Bezdek and Murphy made quick work of building an insurmountable lead.

“We saw that the course was really narrow and that it would be hard to pass each other, so if you’re at the front you just try to stay at the front,” Bezdek said. “Try to take turns with someone, then jumping past them at the finish.

“I wanted to partly put on a good show, but I figured if Kyle [Murphy] and I attacked and counterattacked, we’d kind of tire each other out.

“Last lap Kyle was sitting on my wheel and he wouldn’t come through, so I just slowed down a lot so he had less of a benefit from drafting, and when you’re going that slow it’s just a matter of positioning.

“Kyle is really fit. I’ve got a better kick, though. So I was actually happy that it came down to the last few hundred meters.

“We kind of crept around, and then on the cobbles I just jumped as hard as I could and stuck it.

“Before the last couple corners, I just jumped as hard as I could and he couldn’t come around.”

King of Red Hook Crit

It was Bezdek’s fourth victory in the Red Hook Criterium.

With his successful defense on Saturday, Bezdek became the winningest racer of the Red Hook Criterium, surpassing three-time winner Dan Chabanov, who was caught up in a crash early in the race and pulled out of the event.

Asked how his record-breaking fourth victory in the Red Hook Crit felt compared to his previous three, Bezdek told cyclingreporter that “it just gets better every time.”

Another race favorite, Evan Murphy, said that he had flatted early in the race and had no choice but to abandon.

Murphy had finished second to Bezdek in May’s Red Hook Crit and was seen as the heavy favorite after having finished strongly in Sunday’s Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, a UCI 1.2 race.

Bezdek now leads the four-race Red Hook Criterium Championship Series with two races to go this year, one in Barcelona in August and the other in Milan in October.

Full results and lap times available here.

—Words, videos, and photos by Daniel McMahon for cyclingreporter.com

Related: Bezdek’s top tips for winning sprint finishes

Related: Bezdek Wins Red Hook Crit 2013 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Related slideshow by cyclingreporter for VeloNews.com: A short history of the Red Hook Crit



Red Hook Criterium Brooklyn Navy Yard bike race Saturday, June 8, 2013
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
IMG_5458Bezdek Wins Brooklyn Navy Yard Red Hook Criterium
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No Comment: Stage 1 Giro d’Italia 2013

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