The Redlands Bicycle Classic presented by San Manuel band of Mission Indians shifted gears today. The riders left the mountains behind and headed back to downtown Redlands for the Saturday Men’s and Women’s Criterium.
Today’s Criterium action was a chance for riders to pick up much needed time bonuses and of course a coveted stage victory. Additionally, teams are looking to protect their respective yellow jersey.
Protecting the leader’s jersey, NOW and Novartis maintained control of the race, ultimately leading Alison Powers to the win followed by Joelle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) in 2nd and Loren Rowney (Specialized Lululemon) in 3rd. The women’s race started off aggressively with Exergy 2016 sending Allison Starnes on a solo pursuit lasting 8 laps. While no serious breakaways formed, several riders tried their luck with a solo attack, most notably by Denise Ramsden (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) in the closing laps of the race. Denise was swallowed up with 3 laps to go by a hard charging field led by NOW and Novartis.
Photos © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com
While Alison Powers and her team seem to have a solid hold on the leader’s jersey, less than 20 seconds separate the three women. Tomorrow’s Sunset stage is sure to be aggressive with time bonuses on the line the first lap across the Queen of the Mountain.
Controlling the peloton was the order of the day much of the afternoon in the Men’s race. The 5 hour Energy team controlled the front, while various solo attacks and a group of 5 got no further up the road than a 12 second gap. With less than 6 laps to go in the race the Jamis Hagens Bermen p/b team came to the front to set up the sprint for Juan Jose Haedo or Luis Amaran. The late move to the front paid off as the stage win went to JJ Haedo.
The Men’s GC saw no changes to the top Three. Chad Haga Optum p/b Kelly Benefit remained in yellow with his teammate Tom Zirbel in 3rd. Francesco Mancebo 2nd looks poised to be a challenger in the final stage as a past winner and always aggressive on the Sunset Stage. Last year he came up short in the rain and this year he’s a strong contender to get back on the top.
The Men’s race top ten riders are separated by only 26 seconds going into tomorrow’s final stage on the Redlands Bicycle Classic. The Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road Race begins at 1:30 for Men and 10:00 am for Women.