Redlands Bicycle Classic. The name evokes flashing images of an enormous pack of cyclists snaking through urban neighborhoods, legs freshly shaved, their fitness a culmination of a long winter’s work, and a distinct nervousness buzzing in the air.
Unfortunately for myself, I suffered some knee issues the week prior at San Dimas, compounded with a stubborn bronchitis induced by the pollen raging through the NorCal air, so after taking the week off leading up to Redlands, getting my legs shaved was a mere afterthought at 11pm the night before stage 1. Luckily though, I could sense that my Cal Giant/ Specialized teammates were ready to wreck some serious havoc on this race, and I wasn’t about to let any health issues get in the way.
Our plan heading into the first stage was simply to stay attentive for breakaways and set up our sprinters for the finish. After Ansel Dickey nabbed second in the first intermediate sprint, Brendan Rhim launched off the front first with 3 others; then alone, for the last 8 laps of the race. As we hit the hill lap after lap, we could see Brendan cresting it, and although the pace was increasingly unrelenting in the pack, he was not getting any closer! Finally, with 2 laps to go, the Hincapie Racing Team and Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter start to panic, leaving it almost too late; catching Brendan with only a few kilometers to go.
In the crazy lead up to the finale, we did our best to be in position, but I could only manage 28th, the team’s best result for the day.
The TT at Big Bear must have the worst driving time to racing time ratio of any race in the US. The 2hrs of driving each way take almost a bigger toll than the 15min effort itself, but we headed up the mountain early to have a stress free afternoon.
I was really looking forward to this TT, being my first since I tweaked my position on the Shiv at the Specialized Wind Tunnel, and was hoping to better my 49th place from last year. The time trial itself was a blur; I vaguely remember some wind, some ferocious spinning of my junior gearing, and a fair bit of coasting! It’s a fun course, with the series of tight turns before the turnaround, and it was over much more quickly than I expected. In the end, I managed 17th place, shaving 30 seconds off my time from last year, and putting me in the top 10 overall as well as in best amateur’s jersey.
After the time trial, we made an obligatory stop at the North Pole Fudge Shop in Big Bear. My teammates introduced me to fudge for the first time, and all I can say boys is that I think I’ll stick to croissants.
Along with the TT, I was really looking forward to stage 3 and the summit finish atop Oak Glen. I hear the pace was fast in the first 70 miles, but I was so focused, and so well protected by my teammates, that it was a breeze. Seriously, it felt almost too easy to have bottles and food brought up to you as well as not having to stick my nose in the wind to move up. Thanks guys.
As we turned onto the final 5 mile climb, Optum hit the front hard, and we cruised up the first ramps at 20 mph. Quickly the group was down to 15 or so, and Phil Gaimon (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies) only had Mike Woods left, who undoubtedly sensed there was still a good 5km to go and slowed down quite a bit.
I decided to take a chance and slip off the front, hoping that a bit of a stare-off between the likes of Horner (Safeway-Airgas), Gaimon and others would ensue. I was joined by Gregory Brenes of Jamis, and we rolled well, but Woods upped the pace back up, and I decided not to force the issue. Rolling up the rest of the climb, I didn’t want to be the one to take the initiative especially with Woods still in the mix for Gaimon, and I wasn’t alone.
Looking around and realizing the elevated company I was climbing with quieted the screaming legs and was, quite frankly, a really cool experience. Attacks only flew within the last kilometer, with Gavin Mannion (Jelly Belly) going, followed by Gaimon. I waited on Horner’s wheel for a response, but when there was none, I surged hard into the last 800m with Woods and Brenes on my wheel. I had the duo in sight, but wasn’t able to claw them back. Brenes popped, Woods jumped past me at 50 meters to go, and I finished 4th, 14sec behind Phil and right behind Woods and Mannion.
Overall I couldn’t help but be stoked on the day’s work!
After a nice breakfast-taco seeking morning spin, we headed into the crit eager to defend my 3rd overall and grab a result on the stage with one of our many hitters! This crit is notoriously technical, with its multiple 120+ degree turns, and I was content to float in the first 30 wheels all day.
About 30min into the race, I remember seeing Brendan fly by me and quickly get out of sight in the front of the field… then I didn’t see him again. We motored along, busting out 30mph laps, and looking up at the Start/Finish I could see there was a break holding 30 seconds up the road! I had no idea how that was even possible at this speed. After another hour of dizzying laps eventfully filled with crash dodging and gap closing, the strung out field hit the finish and I heard “Brendan Reeeeeeemmm!” booming on the announcer!!! As an amateur development team, it’s a huge result to get a win at a race of this calibre, and morale was extremely high heading into the infamous Sunset Road Race.
Dubbed one of the hardest road stages in American cycling, the Sunset Loop strikes fear in the heart of all cyclists, and we were determined to defend the green and white jerseys, and 3rd overall, we had fought for all week. After Brendan sealed the deal on the sprinter’s jersey at the sprint point 1km into the stage, the boys did a fantastic job keeping me out of trouble on the very physically, and mentally trying circuits.
Slowly the group was whittled down, and slowly I realized I was not on the best of days. Hanging on best I could on the closing laps, I was extremely thankful once we plunged back into downtown Redlands… almost too much so. A moment’s inattention and a gap opened up on the gradual descent, and I struggled to spin back into the group at 45mph. The 5 crit laps at the end lasted an eternity, but after 95 miles of racing, I had done enough to conserve 3rd overall.
It took a solid half hour of sitting down, panting, coughing, and pizza gorging after the stage to feel ready enough to stand up, let alone get to the podium. It was an honor to share the final GC podium with two such renown riders as Gaimon and Mannion, as well as being able to represent Cal Giant with my teammate Brendan with the white and green jerseys!
We really couldn’t have imagined this week going much better, and it just goes to show how powerful teamwork and cohesion can be. I’d also like to thank our wonderful host family, the Cal Giant staff, without forgetting Specialized, Sram, Cuore, Oakley, and all our other wonderful sponsors for giving us that winning edge!
Adrien Costa lives in Los Altos, CA.
Words by: Ty Magner (Hincapie Racing Team)
SALT LAKE CITY (April 15, 2015) – A collection of 13 of the world’s best international and domestic men’s
professional cycling teams have accepted invitations to compete at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Aug.
3-9, 2015. Three additional teams will be added later this spring for “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM”, for
a total of 16 men’s teams in the final field of the UCI 2.HC men’s stage race.
Four of these teams will travel to Utah directly from competition at the Tour de France, including three UCI
ProTeams registered in the United States — BMC Racing Team, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling and Trek
Factory Racing. The South African-based MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung team, registered at a
Professional Continental level, is the first team from the African continent to receive a wild card invitation to
the Tour de France. It is the second appearance for MTN-Qhubeka (2013) and Trek Factory Racing (2014)
at the Tour of Utah. BMC Racing Team, which captured three stage wins at last year’s Tour of Utah, will
make its seventh appearance. Cannondale-Garmin, which expects to bring two-time defending champion
Tom Danielson (USA) again in August, will race as a Slipstream Sports squad for a sixth year.
Joining MTN-Qhubeka from the UCI Professional Continental ranks will be Team Colombia of Colombia,
Drapac Professional Cycling of Australia, and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling of the U.S. It is the first
appearance for the South American squad, which scored the overall King of the Mountain classification title
at this year’s World Tour stage race, Tirreno-Adriatico, with climber Carlos Julian Quintero. Known as the
“Blue Train,” UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling will make a record ninth appearance at the Tour of Utah, the
most of any team. Drapac Pro Cycling returns for a second time, having raced in Utah in 2014.
Continental teams have a strong representation in this year’s field, already including four of the Top Five
squads ranked on USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC). Team SmartStop expects to return with
Jure Kocjan (Slovenia), who won the Utah Sports Commission Sprint points jersey in 2014. Hincapie
Racing Team featured the best two climbers at the 2014 Tour of Utah, returning this year with American
Robin Carpenter, who was second overall in the Ski Utah King of the Mountains classification.
UCI ProTeams (*world rankings as of April 12, 2015)
• BMC Racing Team (USA), No.5 on UCI WorldTour
• Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling (USA), No. 17 on UCI WorldTour
• Trek Factory Racing (USA), No. 13 on UCI WorldTour
UCI Professional Continental Team (rankings as of March 25, 2015)
• Drapac Professional Cycling (Australia), No. 2 on UCI Oceania Tour
• Team Colombia (Colombia), No. 3 on UCI America Tour
• Team MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung (South Africa), No. 1 on UCI Asia Tour
• UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA), No. 5 on UCI Asia Tour
UCI Continental Teams, America Tour (UCI ranking as of March 25, 2015)
• Axeon Cycling Team (USA), No. 4 on UCI Oceania Tour
• Hincapie Racing Team (USA), No. 7 on UCI Oceania Tour/ No. 5 on USAC NRC
• Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home (USA), No. 6 on UCI America Tour/ No. 3 on USAC NRC
• Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis (USA), No. 2 on USAC NRC
• Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA), No. 17 on UCI Europe Tour/ No. 1 on USAC NRC
• Team SmartStop (USA), No. 7 on UCI America Tour/ No. 7 on USAC NRC
“Each year we are honored to have such an impressive list of teams competing in the Tour of Utah. To
have four teams already committed to travel to Utah from the Tour de France makes a big statement in the
sports world about the growing prestige of the Tour of Utah. Our fans and our partners can expect more
great racing battles from these world-class teams in August,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, a division of Miller Sports Properties.
Earlier in April, 11 women’s professional and domestic elite cycling teams were announced as part of the
field for the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic. The omnium-style competition will take place
in Logan, Utah on Aug. 3 and Ogden, Utah on Aug. 4. Four women’s UCI teams were confirmed to
compete, including the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team which captured the inaugural Tour of Utah
Women’s Edition title in 2014.
The final fields for both men’s and women’s competitions will be announced later this spring. This year’s
Tour of Utah will continue as the first internationally-sanctioned cycling competition in North America for
men following the Tour de France. The Criterium Classic is sanctioned by USA Cycling as part of the
National Criterium Calendar (NCC).
Words by: Brendan Rhim
Race Report: Redlands Classic 2015 Stage 4 Criterium
A quick summary of earlier events in The Redlands Classic: I spent the last 8 laps of the Highland Circuit Race off the front by myself. The gap to the field was a maximum advantage of 1 min 55 seconds with about 15 km to go. I was caught with about 2km to go. My 17 year old teammate, Adrien Costa (California Giant Specialized) had great rides everyday and especially the Big Bear ITT and Yucaipa Road Race to hold 3rd overall and the White Amateur Jersey.
Stage 4 Criterium
The plan for my California Giant Specialized team in the criterium was twofold: 1. Protect Adrien’s GC spot and, 2. Have representation in the day’s breakaway.
As expected, the race started at a pretty furious pace. Apparently everyone else had been told to get to the front too! Just before the 30 min mark of the race I made a big push to get to the front of the field for a sprint point. I followed an attack by a SmartStop rider and went for the sprint points. Crossing the line I had a sizable gap to the field and 5 riders were coming across the split. The riders joining me were were Luis Amaran (Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home), Chris Riekert (Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffees), Ray Alexander (Silber Pro Cycling), Ulises Castillo (KHS Maxxis JL Velo), and Peter Disera (H&R Block Pro Cycling). Once we all settled in and began rotating smoothly the gap hovered at 25 seconds.
The bell was rung every 5 laps or so for cash primes and sprint points. My break mates seemed set on going for the cash primes and I gladly watched them sprint all out for them. When the point sprints came Amaran (Jamis) and Disera (H&R Block) battled me for position in the tight final three corners. During one point sprint Amaran (Jamis) jumped super early before 3 turns to go I was trapped third wheel coming onto the home-stretch and wasn’t able to come around. I quickly learned that if I wanted to win a sprint I would have to be second wheel or leading through the final 3 corners.
As we entered the final 10 laps the gap had dropped below 30 seconds. We could see Optum Pro Cycling driving the pace through the double sided pit and at this point I thought we would surely be caught.
At about 8 laps to go Riekert (Mikes Bikes) and Disera (H&R Block) hit the deck in turn one reducing the break momentarily to 4 riders. We came through the start finish seeing 5 to go and I expected the bell for a points sprint lap; but the officials were all over the place in some sort of confusion. We wouldn’t find out until after the race that the yellow jersey, Phil Gaimon (Optum), and nearly all the other GC contenders including Chris Horner (Airgas) had crashed the previous lap.
The officials were deciding whether or not the “free laps” were over or to give the crashed riders pack time because they were within the “grace point” in the race. (“the grace point” is when riders no longer lose time in the event of a crash in the final kilometers of a stage race)
Nobody in the break knew what had happened but the gap shot back up to 30 seconds; we knew we would be sprinting for the win. The last 4 laps were a blur. Nothing but screaming people, cowbells, burning legs, and the sudden realization that I had the opportunity to take home a win on one of the biggest stages of cycling in America.
On the last lap everyone took one last short pull and the looking games began.
We hit the final 5 turns; Travis McCabe (SmartStop) was quickly coming from behind. The first to panic was Castillo (KHS) from about 600m to go. I jumped into 3rd wheel. I knew that 3 corners to go was where the race would be won, so I sprinted for that corner like it was the end of the race. Foot down knee out through the final turns and Amaran (Jamis) was glued to my wheel, while the other 3 were gapped off.
Hitting the home stretch sprinting, I had the sun at my back, my shadow in front of me. And nothing behind me. I knew I had it. I hit the line, and put my hands up. Redemption at its finest: One second you are driving the break desperately trying to stay away from the field, the next you have your hands up in front of hundreds of cheering people.
I was excited to say the least.
Brendan Rhim lives in Norwich, VT.
Redlands, California. he world famous Beaver Medical Sunset Road Race in the hills of Redlands. Downtown criteriums for our amateur racers. Start/Finish Citrus Ave, Downtown Redlands
All images contained within the pages of CI may not be used for ANY purposes what so ever without the written permission of CI and the photographer and are protected under copyright law. Enjoy ©Danny Munson
Henderson and McConnell Sweep Bonelli Short Track for Trek Factory Racing
San Dimas, CA – April 12, 2015:
Rebecca Henderson and Dan McConnell made it a Sunday to remember for Trek Factory Racing by winning the women’s and men’s short track races, wrapping up the racing action at Bonelli Park.
Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance) got things underway in the women’s race by leading the first two laps of a twenty-minute plus three laps race. A full complement of Luna Pro racers lined up behind her followed by Jenny Rissveds (Scott/ODLO Mtb Race Team), Kate Courtney (Specialized Factory Racing) and Emily Batty and Henderson (both Trek Factory Racing).
The Luna Pro Team took over affairs on the third lap, with Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash taking the lead before Chloe Woodruff (Stans NoTubes/Niner) launched a serious attack. By the end of the next lap, the group had reformed to about fifteen, with two more joining by the end of lap five. It was here that Nash was seen off the back of the lead group, evidently having chain troubles, but determined to make contact with the leaders and chasing desperately to do so.
The seventh lap was also a prime lap, which Henderson won thanks to a strong charge that saw her build up a large lead and at the same time blew the front group to bits. This move saw Luna down to just Gould and Pendrel in the front group, with Connors and Andrea Waldis (Luna Pro Team) chasing back on at the end of lap seven.
With just three to go, the front group sat up just long enough for Nash to rejoin. Connors put in one more dig on the pavement with two to go and the chasing group down to just ten. On the last time around, the lead group passed the grassy descent in tatters, the result of a crash by Rissveds. On the final lip just before the pavement, it was Henderson who took the inside line leading to the pavement and taking the win from Gould and Waldis.
The men lined up for the same twenty-plus-three format as the women and right off the bat Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) was in front with the hole shot, with teammate Sam Gaze just behind. The two Speclalized riders animated the first few laps, mixing it in the front along with Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles), Keegan Swenson (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Colombian Hector Fernando Riveros Paez (Raleigh-Clement).
By the end of the fourth lap, cross country winner Nino Schurter (Scott/ODLO) moved his way to the front along with Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory Racing) right before McConnell made his presence known with a hard charge on the pavement section after the start/finish. After lap five there was a general regrouping at the front as reigning US Short Track Champion Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale) made his presence known in the front. Just before the prime lap, Estonian Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) put in a huge effort and built up a lead that took him through the prime lap and lasted for another two laps until he was pulled back by the efforts of the chase group being led by Wells.
On the final timed lap, McConnell put in his decisive attack, quickly building up a lead that hovered at five seconds for two laps, then extended again on the grassy descent to the midfleld for the last time. Weaving his way through the grassy midfield, McConnell had enough time in hand to take it easy and ease into the finish. Wells crossed the line in second just a few seconds later ahead of Kohei Yamamoto (Trek Factory Racing) and Junior XC World Champion Simon Andreassen (Team Webike-DMK). US CUP XC overall leader Raphael Gagne rounded out the podium in fifth.
USA Cycling US Cup presented by Cannondale Round Four
The USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series will continue with round 4, a UCI Category C3 race, at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey, California on Saturday, April 18.
Bonelli Park 2 short track cross country brief results
1 Rebecca Henderson (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 26:53
2 Georgia Gould (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 26:54
3 Andrea Waldis (Switzerland) Luna Pro Team; 26:54
4 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 26:56
5 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 26:57
1 Daniel McConnell (Australia) Specialized Factory Racing
2 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing
3 Kohei Yamamoto (Japan) Trek Factory Racing
4 Simon Andreasson (Denmark) Team Webike-DMK
5 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles