The 30th annual Redlands Bicycle Classic presented by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians kicked off today in the City of Highland. The Race was returning to Highland for the first year since 2003.
The City of Highland Circuit race lived up to its past reputation and proved an excellent stage to get the Classic rolling. The race began under cloudy skies at the San Manuel Village located at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains; from there it was onto the 2.8 mile circuit race. Once on the Highland circuit the racers were greeted with the grueling Baseline climb that would await them every lap and possibly decide the race outcome.
After one lap of the women’s circuit it was apparent the climb up Baseline was going to be the great equalizer on the course. The peloton stayed together for most of the day with attacking only for climber points and time bonuses. Lauren Stephens of Team Tibco finished the race just as she started after grabbing both climber points and time bonuses and held off a charging peloton to grab the stage victory.
The final women’s Stage 1 results were Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco to the Top), Karol Ann Canuel (Specialized-Lululemon) followed by Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The men’s race featured a break that was made up of two and four riders for most of the stage. The initial gap was created by Bailey McKnight (Jet Fuel Coffee – Norco Bicycles) and Coulton Hartrich (Sea Sucker/Guttenplan Coaching). A duo bridged up and the foursome held gaps to over 1:00 minute. The addition of Eric Marcotte (Smart Stop) and Colin Daw (Team Mike’s Bike p/b Equator Coffees) kept the break away until one lap to go.
The break that stayed away for most of the race, but was finally captured and a field sprint decided the day. The winner of the stage and the first yellow jersey went to Dion Smith (Hincapie Sportswear Development), James Oram (Bissell Development Team ) sprinted for 2nd and William Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) ended up with the last podium spot in 3rd.
The racing continues tomorrow with the teams heading into the San Bernardino Mountains for the Big Bear Time Trial. The course features a 7.8 mile out and back on the beautiful north side of Big Bear Lake. The Big Bear Time Trial for the women begins at 11:30 am followed by the men at 12:45 pm.
This year’s event will be held April 2 – 6, 2014 in Redlands, CA and surrounding cities. The race features professional men and women’s races that will include five tough days of racing, beginning with a Circuit Race in the City of Highland on Wednesday, a time trail at Big Bear Lake on Thursday, a grueling road race in the scenic City of Beaumont on Friday, wrapping up in Redlands with a criterium Saturday, and the famous Sunset Road Race on Sunday.
For more information, including race times, distances, and volunteer opportunities, visit redlandsclassic.com.
Check back to SoCalCycling.com for photos from the Highland Circuit Race.
Above Photo – Dion Smith (Hincapie Sportswear Development) celebrates his win in the Highland Circuit Race. Photo © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com