Stage two of the Redlands Bicycle Classic turned out to be a both familiar and new with a repeat winner in Mara Abbott of The Amy D. Foundation team in the women’s race, and a new face in the form of 21 year old Sepp Kuss of Gateway Harley-Davidson in the men’s race.
Defending champion Abbott survived a nasty fall on the third of four 14.1 mile circuits to lay down a blazing final two kilometers to outdistance two-time gold medal winner Kristin Armstrong by 33 seconds.
“It was pretty much a bunch of people going down, and I actually managed to go around them, but someone else did not and I basically fell on top of them and considering how fast we were going, I was lucky to fall on someone else”.
In the men’s race, Sepp Kuss was relatively unknown, and that may have worked in his favor. The two favorites for the stage Lachlan Morton and Janier Acevedo were caught watching as Kuss powered away in the final meters.
“He made a move and Janier and I were looking at each other, and by the time I started my sprint, he had too much time”. Said Morton. “It was a good win by him”.
“This is the biggest race I’ve ever done. I knew it would be a tall order to hold off guys like that…I have a ton of respect for them,” said Kuss. “I’m really happy to finish off a tough day’s work.” Those guys were star climbers Morton of Team Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis (second) and Acevedo of Team Jamis (third), who were edged out by a surging Kuss at the line.
For more information, including race times, distances, and volunteer opportunities, visit redlandsclassic.com.
Photo © Alex Chiu