This Sunday’s Lou Maltese Memorial race should see close competition in all fields. The weather outlook is for good conditions. As one of the more hotly contested races in central Park, we thought it would helpful to give you an insight into the form of the key race contenders….

In the Women’s 3/4 race, there are a number of strong contenders. Kate Evans and Rebecca Schepps both from Team Type 1 showed recent good form at the Rodale Fitness Park Criterium and Rebecca won and placed highly in a number of Tour of America’s Dairyland Criteriums this summer. Also racing well lately has been Aimee Layton (CRCA/Genaro), Victoria Brumfield (CRCA/Radical Media) and Laura Lee Vo (CRCA/Fuoriclasse Racing-Discover Chiropractic). Kristin Lotito (CRCA/Houlihan-Lokey/Sanchez) won the Harlem Skyscraper and has been consistently strong in the club races this season. With a strong team to support her, the dynamic duo of Lotito and teammate Raquel Miller look difficult to beat. But I like to back something with longer odds; so in an act of heresy, I will be looking for better odds and go with Schepps for the win.

The Men’s 5 race is like picking a two year old in an early Spring race. There is little in the way of form, so you pick by the breeding, the trainer or the name that rings true for you. Unfortunately I haven’t been provided with the breeding details of this year’s Spring fillies, so on that basis alone, my pick for the win is Gerret Van Duyne. Any racer that has a ‘van’ between his first and last name, probably has some good Dutch or Belgium breeding. He’s likely a 15 to 1 shot, but it’s a wide open field and the bookies probably won’t need to go below 10 to 1. NYVelocity will be active in the race, but Asphalt Green look to have numbers and if they can get their train in place for Tony McMullen, then he certainly has a chance to win on home turf. But I am sticking with the unproven Van Duyne….

With the Men’s 4 race being such a big field, I turn to my most trusted source for tipping winners – the Race Predictor at Like any form guide, you have to know how to read it and what to ignore; but I’ll give you the benefit of my experience. On the top of my list is Brad Stratton (Capital Bicycle Racing Club). Yep, he’s coming from Albany. Those of you who complain about riding in from Brooklyn to get to the race on a Sunday morning, spare a thought for Brad. You don’t drive from Albany to New York to take second place (no pressure Brad…) His recent results are strong, but he’s racing without teammates which could well work against him in this field. Which brings me to the topic of teams. Its seems Foundation has something to prove with no less than thirteen riders registered for the race. With Tony Munoz and John Blake in the line up, its fair to say the team will again be looking to bring their boys to a sprint finish. NYVelocity is bringing the full roster too, so watch for Josh Sakofsky fresh off his last club race win. Hudson Furniture will be looking for an armchair ride to the finish for Misha Chiporukha. My value bet in this field could well be Eric Sutherland. By staying off a sub-team, he tries to keep under the radar, but if your bookie starts to shorten the odds on Eric, get in while you can. Watch for Andrew Dunn (CRCA/NYAC) to try to escape the peloton early in the race.

The main event is of course the Invitational Team Event that pits the best local New York teams against each other. Points are awarded twenty deep so expect to see a hotly contested field sprint. Jonathan Adler Racing has the form so far this year with strong results from Greg Olsen, Jeffrey Ingraham and Ariel Menedez-Penate. They are a well drilled team who will work well together to get a rider in every move, but I don’t know if they have the depth to capture the team prize. – Leopard with Colin Prensky, Anthony Taylor and Lynn Murray have the ability to place a number of riders high up in the placings and they are my tip for the win. As defending champions, Foundation will no doubt be hungry for this win and the recent success of some of their riders in the Tour of America’s Dairylands shows they are in good form too. For the individual win, Ricky Lowe (CRCA/Die Hard – Think Racing), Lynn Murray (CRCA/ and team mates Alejandro Guzman and Rafel Meran (CRCA/Foundation) are all good bets in a group sprint. But I suspect a break away will be the play of the day and Ariel Menedez-Penate or Anthony Hall from Jonathan Adler will take the win. But as we have seen in the Tour, anything can happen. Let’s just hope it doesn’t and that all races are safe…

Good luck to those racing!