Jelly Belly Pro Cycling’s Serghei Tvetcov won the 7.1-mile, individual time trial, on stage 1 of the 33rd Redlands Bicycle Classic. Tvetcov crossed the finish a mere half a second faster than UnitedHealthcare’s Gavin Mannion, with a time of 14:40:29. Mannion’s teammate, Alex Cataford finished third, two seconds back.
The heat was a factor for the opening stage, with temperatures reaching the mid-90’s. Many riders were seen wearing cooling vests and ice socks during their warm-up. The time trial kicked off the 5-day stage race, a change from previous years where the TT fell in the middle of the race week.
Photos by Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com
“I didn’t realize until I got to the finish line and was told I was in first position by half a second,” Tvetcov said. “I didn’t feel like I was really fast because the legs after altitude and Tour of the Gila are pretty heavy.”
Tvetcov had finished 4th at the Tyrone Time Trial and third overall at the Gila, the previous stage race on the USA Cycling Pro Tour calendar. The Jelly Belly rider is looking to improve on his form here at Redlands.
“I’m pretty happy, but the GC is wide open,” Tvetcov added. “We just arrived on Saturday, and it’s really hot here and that’s a big difference. This is an important race for us, it’s not a training race.”
Mannion (UHC) looks forward to the GC battle this week.
“Starting out with the TT is nice, it sets the tone for the week,” Mannion said. “It’s always disappointing to miss out on the win by such a close margin. But it sets us up pretty good on the GC with Alex in third and myself in second. It’s going to be a long week of racing.”
Neben Posts Fastest Time
Amber Neben, won the Greenspot Individual Time Trial ahead of Leah Thomas (Sho-Air Twenty20) and Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) in the women’s race. The Dare To Be Project rider and current ITT World Champion covered the 7.1-mile (11 km) hilly course in 16 minutes and 25 seconds, 18 seconds faster than Thomas.
“I had no idea what to expect. After the turnaround I was afraid I wasn’t fast enough, I was a little under geared, but I was fast enough going out so it worked out,” Neben said. “It’s good to get the win the first day,” Neben said. “Because of the stage swaps, I think the racing will be aggressive because no one is waiting for anything. For me, I was gunning for the time trial, the rest is cherry on top if it happens.”
Thomas arrived at Redlands after an overall podium finish at Gila.
“I felt really good, I always feel more confident in longer time trials,” Thomas said. “Here we have a shorter time trial so I really wanted to test myself and make some improvements and gains from last year. I think I’m moving in the right direction.”
Stage 2 Yucaipa Road Race begins tomorrow at 9:00 AM with the para-cycle circuit, followed by 9:40 AM for the pro men, and 10:50 am PDT for the pro women. The men will be racing 94.4 miles (6 laps), and the women 66.2 miles (4 laps).