Blue Ribbon Cycling | About
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About Us

We are Blue Ribbon Cycling.

The squad competes in national, regional and local races up and down the Eastern seaboard and across the country. We are primarily a category 1 and 2 NYC-based racing squad. We do travel throughout the extensive tri-state area and, on occasion, beyond. We focus on road races and criteriums primarily. Over the years, we have built for ourselves a reputation as one of the preeminent elite racing teams on the NYC scene.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Thomas Pennell

Thomas Pennell manages Pennell Venture Partners, a venture capital firm. Thomas started racing bikes in 2000. Results in the last year include podium finishes in the Spring Bear Mountain 40+ race as well as in the Bermuda Grand Prix 40+ road race, criterium and GC. Prior results he is likely to recall in times of poor form include a 4th in the Cat 3 Green Mountain Stage Race GC; 2nd place finishes at the Cat 3 Bear Mountain, 40+ Coupe des Ameriques road race, and masters Pete Senia race (the latter taking place the day after the far more significant birth of son Reed—yes, thank you Stephanie); as well as a solo road race win and GC win at the Bermuda Grand Prix. Thomas leaves to his teammates the squabbling over who has the best looks, quickest wit and greatest ability to exaggerate accomplishments.


Mark Alden

A veteran racer with Blue Ribbon, Mark brings 25 years of racing experience to the table. Mark has been a successful elite bicycle racer for many years with results spanning the continent. A solid climber Mark managed victory in several of his favorite races: Nancy Morgenstern/Bear Mtn, Tokenke, Unionvale and Balloon Festival. With unparalleled team support Mark won 2 CRCA power points races. A resident of northern NJ, the roads of Bergen and Rockland Counties are Mark’s playground where he hones his deadly grit and determination he’s known for, both on the race course and off.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Sal Abbruzzese

For 2018, Sal is back with Blue Ribbon to do battle on the race course and fly the Blue flag while training as well! He will be racing in Prospect Park, Central Park and other CRCA races and beyond.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Anthony Azzariti

For 2018, Anthony is back with Blue Ribbon to do battle on the race course and fly the Blue flag while training as well! He will be racing in Prospect Park, Central Park and other CRCA races and beyond.


Thurstan Bannister

Thurstan works for Alphadyne Asset Management, a sponsor of the team.  A displaced Londoner, he raced briefly with the CRCA in the early 2000s, and was Club Secretary then too.  As a partner of Sakonnet Technology, he helped build the junior national racing team for which Gavriel Epstein and Phil Gaimon once rode.  Thurstan has served on NYC Transportation Alternatives’ advisory board, and led their group rides for many years.  Since 2013 he has organized a century TTT every fall along the Delaware River between Easton, PA and Trenton, NJ.  He is now exploring improving or creating roads, greenways and paths between the GWB and the new Tappan Zee Bridge, including a possible 22-mile rail-trail conversion on a disused line between North Bergen, NJ, and Nyack.  Loves bikes with Reynolds steel tubing, gravel events, Gypsy in Nyack and Caffe Latte in Dobbs Ferry.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Jason Brown

Jason came to cycling after a collegiate career in cross-country skiing as he was looking for a bit more challenge in his life. Riding with Blue Ribbon for 7 years, Jason is one of the most senior members on the team with scores of races under his belt. For 2018, Jason is focusing on blowing up the local race scene with his BR teammates.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Lauren Dagostino

In 2016, Lauren moved down to South Carolina with the love of her life, long-time BR warrior, Michael Zak. Tired of always demolishing the local NYC scene, the two flocked south in hopes of more competition. As we understand it, the weather is great, the descents are endless and the folks down there as twice as nice. In 2018, Lauren and Mike tie the knot off the bike while they tow the rope on every single ride!

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Cecilia Davis-Hayes

Cecilia fell in love with cycling while living in France after college. She took podium spots at Tour of the Battenkill, Green Mountain Stage Race, and multiple CRCA races, as stepping stones towards earning her cat 1 license in 2013. She won a collegiate National championship in ITT in 2014 and won a spot on the collegiate All-Star team to compete at the NorthStar Grand Prix. After a serious bike accident and the rediscovery of running, she picked up triathlon in 2015, which she is pursuing professionally. While she doesn’t race pure bikes races often anymore, she appreciates the cycling community and companionship from BR and sporting the blue and black colors!

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Gavriel Epstein

Coming from a storied season of wins all around the world, Gavi comes to Blue Ribbon for 2018 to ride with the friends he grew up with, racing side by side at his hometown races in the NYC area. Gavi enjoys close friendships with everybody he races with, from local sprinters to Tour de France breakaway specialists. His exploits in China and beyond are nothing short of legend which will set him up well for the next chapter in his racing career – donning the Blue Ribbon kit.

ME (2)

Matthew Erchull

Matt comes to Blue Ribbon from an extremely competitive and highly decorated career of racing bicycles off road, much akin to what the new generation are calling “cyclocross”. Joining the team in 2017, Matt is coming back for a second season to test his mettle and his grit against the NY elite and beyond. With residences in NJ and MA, Matt spans the New England area searching out the best races to do battle. Watch out for him at a race near you!

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Eddie Espitia

Eddie Espitia has been racing since 1995 and enjoys all aspects of racing. He has raced all over the country and world including races such as Superweek in Wisconsin, the Tour of Ohio and last year the Vuelta de Colombia Senior Master. He has won criteriums at the Tour of Ohio and hilly road races such as the Bear Mountain Spring Classic. Eddie has worked as an auditor in the past and is currently working as a hedge fund accountant. He rides to work a short 10-mile commute on a daily basis. His other interest includes mixing house music with his two turntables, and he also holds a private pilot license. For 2018, Eddie is back with Blue Ribbon to do battle on the race course and fly the Blue flag while training as well! He will be racing and training in Central Park, Prospect Park as well as other CRCA races and beyond.


Eli Curt Fuld

After competing as a wrestler for 9 years, Eli transitioned to triathlons and cross-country running on a collegiate level. As a wrestler, he earned honors of All Conference 3 years in a row and as a runner, All Conference second team his Senior year in college. After graduating, Eli began racing bicycles for his local shop team, Team Cosmic. With Team Cosmic, Eli won the overall Rockleigh series before moving on and grabbing a handful of top 5s at the state championships, most recently a 5th place with Blue Ribbon in 2017. For 2018, Eli will return donning the Blue Ribbon kit with his sights set on the largest regional races in NYC and beyond.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Marc Gagliano

Qu’y a-t-il à dire sur Marc? Marc est un coureur exceptionnel. Avec la France qui coule dans ses veines, Marc attaque encore et encore et encore. Il laisse tout ça sur la route pour ses coéquipiers, ou ils laissent tout ça sur la route pour lui! Et une fois la course gagnée, Marc rit et sourit. Beau! Voici à 2018!


Ben Gorodetsky

Ben hails from a quiet corner in a quiet neighborhood of a quiet borough of the quietest city in the world – BROOKLYN! For 2018, Ben is trading in his batman kit to proudly fly the Blue Ribbon flag on his shoulders and lead our U23 squad. To hear him say it, “I’m the fastest, strongest Category 2 racer stuck in the Category 4 races. If I had a quarter for every time I’m going to put Blue Ribbon on the podium in 2018, I would be racing on a shiny set of Lightweight Wheels.”


Camie Kornely

Born in Green Bay, WI, Camie was brought into the world immediately hating the cold. She moved to Milwaukee where it was somehow just as cold and she quickly developed her intolerant attitude towards long winter rides. An absolute menace on two wheels, Camie has secured incredibly inspirational results all around the world from NJ State Championships to World Championships in England . She appreciates every moment on two wheels and finds joy and inspiration in her races and friendship in her contenders once the ferocity of the race dies down. Camie has won the National Championships on 5 separate occasions. She has stood on the podium at the World Championships three times. And once, she made it all the way up the Ash->Tweed->Nike climb without stopping. Of course, these achievements pale in comparison to the love of her life, her little man Cristian. For 2018, Camie’s goals are to go faster.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Paskal Lamour

Born in Britanny (France), Paskal started racing a bike when he was 10 years old. He raced road and track…keeping is parents busy driving him around every weekend from March to September. He moved to New York 10 years ago for works and he is now married to his wife Capucine and the happy father of the little Zoe.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Paul Scott Levis

Paul lives in Chappaqua NY with his wife and two sons. He has been racing for Blue Ribbon since 2010. He is a Cat 2 on the road and prefers to avoid dirt. Strengths include TT’s and long breaks. He works as a financial planner at Summit Financial Consultants. He attended Villanova University where he was a member of the track team. Knee surgery ended the running career and ultimately led to getting into cycling.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Jason Parkin

Jason Parkin is the President & CCO of Compose[d], a digital creative services agency based in NYC that specializes in digital marketing for lifestyle and luxury brands, and sponsor of the team for the past few years. A Cat 3 on the road and cyclocross, Jason’s last result was a top 10 in one of his favorite races, the Tour of High Bridge, but now just looks to get fit enough to play a supporting role in local races. In the off-season, Jason plays ice hockey, hikes, and snowshoes. He lives in Harlem, with his wife Nicky, and their two dogs Shiloh and Ryder.


Brendan Pearce

Having ridden with Blue Ribbon since 2012, Brendan has watched all forms of guard come and go. Brendan is the true all-around workhorse that has and can do it all. Brendan has served as super-domestique to Zach during his three-year reign at Rockleigh, he has served as the NJ state Road Race Champion, he has worn the leader’s jersey at Rockleigh himself and above all else, Brendan is known for his ruthless work ethic that leaves others churning in the back of the peloton.

Blue ribbon cycling team member

Michael Zak

As Michael has been known to do, he compiled a short, personal montage from the past years of his life when he was asked to draft a team bio: There were wheels. Wheels everywhere. On the ground, in the air, in the grass beside the course. And then suddenly, I was down amongst the wheels. On the floor. Again. For the umpteenth time this season. I vowed to myself then and there that when this was all over, I was going to get a tattoo of training wheels on my ankle as a reminder of this stage in my life. For it would go on. C’est la vie – and I would be cat 1. I just needed to get through this particularly crashy stage of my life so that I could continue on my path towards greatness with some of my best friends along the way – Zach, Mark, Eli, Brendan and of course, my soulmate Lauren. I will get through it. I will upgrade and upgrade and upgrade again. I will spend countless hours spinning my cranks in hope of some glory known only to me only to up and leave it all behind and begin the entire process over again in some foreign land. But first, let me lay here amongst these wheels one last time.