This week professional bicycle racing gets underway at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the opening round of the 2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, and the anticipation could not be any more amplified. All racers and teams are locked-in and geared-up to launch hostilities on the roads of Redlands beginning Thursday March 22nd with the Prologue Time Trial.
With returning champions Francisco Mancebo, riding for the newly named Competitive Cyclist Team in the men’s field as well as returning women’s champion Amber Neben, representing the newly formed Specialized-lululemon Team the race features both the men’s and women’s 2011 champions. No doubt, both Mancebo and Neben will have to bring every bit of strength that carried them to their 2011 victories and then some to beat all comers and defend their yellow jersey honors of last year.
Twenty-seven men’s teams will be queuing up to comprise a robust peloton of 200 riders including four of the top five top teams in the NRC Team Rankings from 2011, not the least of which is 2011 Team Ranking champions Bissell Pro Cycling. In addition to the men’s racing no fewer than 90 women spread across 12 teams, including four of last years’ top five team in the NRC Team Rankings will be lining up to take their shot at glory on the roads of Redlands in an event that has been known to support and promote women’s sport.
“We are very proud to have so much excitement surrounding our event,” says Race President, Dan Rendler. “So many applications come from all across the globe for teams that want to participate in our race, we are proud to have such large pelotons of talented riders hitting the streets of Redlands for another great year of racing.”
Every cycling enthusiast knows strong teams are made up of powerful individual riders, and this years’ RBC sees the return of former stage winners and jersey wearers at the Redlands Classic like Team California Giant/Specialized rider John Bennett who took the Stage 1 Beaumont Road Race in 2011 with style. Former race winner and Andy Bajadali of the Optum Pro Cycling team will also be lining up to try to repeat his 2007 overall success as well as former Sunset Road Race stage winner Kyle Wamsley of the Jamis Sutter Home team.
The women of the Redlands Classic will not be lacking any horsepower either with super team Specialized-Lululemon bringing former overall winner Amber Neben, multi-time stage winner (and overall winner) Ina-Yoko Tuetenberg, and Olympic medalist Clara Hughes. Other notable heavy hitters include Alison Powers, former RBC Stage winner, racing for NOW & Novartis for MS as well as Theresa Cliff-Ryan of Team Exergy Twenty-12 who won multiple stages of the 2011 edition of the RBC.
With four exciting days of racing and two full fields of racers the 2012 Redlands Bicycle Classic will no doubt be another vintage edition of world class bike racing that will set the tone for the year ahead. Please come join the show March 22nd-25th, you’ll be glad you did.
Complete List of Teams Competing:
Bissell Pro Cycling
BMC-Hincapie Development Team
California Giant / Specialized
Champion Systems p/b Stans No Tubes/CRCA
Competitive Cyclist Racing Team
Full Circle Cycling p/b Pure Gear
Garneau Quebecor Norton-Rose
Hagens Berman Cycling Team
Jamis Sutter Home
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
Juwi Solar Cycling
Kenda / 5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
Simple Green-Bike Religion p/b Cannondale
Spy-Swamis Development Elite Team
Stage 17 Racing
Team Mountain Khakis/Smart Stop
Team Type 1 (Development)
Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling
XO Communications p/b Cisco
Cynergy Cycles p/b Missing Link Coaching
FCS / Rouse p/b Mr.Restore
NOW and Novartis for MS
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies
Primal / Mapmyride Womens Racing
SC Velo- EmpowerCoaching
Team Kenda p/b Geargrinders
Team Tibco-To The Top
Vanderkitten – Focus
For more information, including race times, distances, and volunteer opportunities, visit redlandsclassic.com.