Redlands Classic: Mejias and Granigan Win Highland Circuit Race

Men’s Race

Granigan Wins Redlands Classic Highland Circuit Race

Denver Disrupter’s Noah Granigan out-sprinted Robin Carpenter in his debut racing with L39ion of Los Angeles, to earn the first yellow jersey in the Redlands opening stage in Highland. The duo had been in the winning break of six riders that had established late in the opening stage. The field was apprehensive, keeping a tight leash on anything that attempted to escape. The winning break would gain up to a minute ahead of the field before Carpenter and Granigan took over the front of the group to battle for victory. Ricky Arnopol finish third on the line for Project Echelon.

“It was a good situation,” Granigan said following his win. “No one was attacking [in the final lap] until we got to the bottom of the hill. It was just about being patient, until you can see the banner to really open it up. The boys were good, with me in the break and we had Riley Sheehan and Reinardt (Janse van Rensberg) finish 1-2 in the field sprint.”

The Disrupters came to Redlands with a stacked squad including WorldTour veteran and 2017 Paris-Nice winner Sergio Henao, along with Sergei Tvetcov, Juan Esteban Arango, and Ulises Castillo. From the initial start as the field rolled under the finishing banner to pass kilometer zero, the field would remain compact until the intermediate bonus points and KOM battle ensued.

Top Teams Active

All the top teams remained attentive at the front with our defending champion, Tyler Stites and Team Echelon making sure they wouldn’t miss a dangerous move. Toronto Hustle, CSVelo, and Aevelo were also in the mix. It was the former Mexican Road Champion, Eder Frayre that took the initiative in the final 10 laps to start splitting the field for L39ion. Arnopol was there for Project Echelon to follow, as the break made their escape, increasing the gap with each lap before securing the win.

“We went pretty late in the race,” Arnopol said after a tough opening day. “We were kept on a tight leash. We were working really well together and then it was just a drag to the finish.”

Looking ahead for tomorrow, Arnopol and Team Echelon are ready for the challenge.

“I think we’re in good shape,” he added. “It’s going to be a super hard day.”

L39ion is also eager for the GC day ahead of them. Current US National Road Champion, Kyle Murphy spent the day in the field, along with many of the GC favorites saving their reserves for Oak Glen.

“Redland’s is our first race with the team together,” Carpenter said, returning to Southern California since last racing Redlands in 2017 with Hincapie. “It’s fun to be back, to be racing. It’s a hard one. Last time I was here, we won with TJ Eisenhart. I would have rather won, but also going into tomorrow defending would have been a lot. It seems like the peloton let Echelon race it out like the old Hincapie style.” Team’s Conn McDunphy took the lead in the Climbers Competition and earned the red climbers jersey.

Stage 2 – City of Yucaipa Road Race

The men will be the first to take on Thursday at 10 AM PDT in Yucaipa. Follow live updates and interviews on our social media channels throughout the day.

Pro Men’s Results

Women’s Race

Mejias Rides To Victory In Highland Circuit Race

Marlies Mejias stormed to victory to open the Redlands Bicycle Classic for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 in Highland. The race is celebrating one of the largest women’s fields in over a decade, with close to 130 riders in the peloton.
The Cuban sprint sensation is racing her first Redlands, with a special fan that waited at the finish line – her 3-year old daughter. Alia Shafi finished not far behind for second after animating the race alongside her teammate, Kathleen Abadie who notched enough QOM points to earn the first QOM jersey. Marcela Prieto of Patobike crossed for third. 
“It’s my first time racing Redlands, but I am happy,” Mejias said. “We will see what will happen tomorrow.”
Mejias let her legs do most of the talking as she heads into the Queen stage tomorrow in yellow. Long-time Virginia’s Blue Ridge Director, Nicola Cramner was proud with the team stealing the opening stage. 
“We actually have a lot of cards to play,” Cramner said. “Today Mejias was feeling good. It wasn’t without the hurdles coming into this – her daughter got really sick the last two weeks, so it was a really stressful buildup. After the win, you may have seen her, she was sobbing for quite a few minutes…she puts a lot of pressure on herself but always pulls out a result. The team rode great, we’re really happy to be back at Redlands. I’ve missed it for a few years.”

Women’s Teams Animate Race

From the start, crossing the finish for kilometer zero, the field was anxious not to let anyone escape. All the big teams were represented on the front, with both Fount Cycling and Patobike seeking to animate the race. With 10 laps remaining, ROXO Racing decided it was time to make their move. Climbing sensation, Emily Marcolini moved to the front, hitting the Baseline climb as one by one, riders were losing contact in the back of the field. Her pace ended up splitting the field into several groups, creating a slight advantage with roughly 15 riders at the front of the race. 
“It was really hard,” Former WorldTour rider and teammate Emily Newsom said at the finish. “Those last few laps were made a little extra hard with my super climber teammate, Emily Marcolini. Part of me wanted to be like – stop it! I’m dying! Todays was not necessarily a make it or break it day.”
Only a few laps remained when a slight touch of wheels send several at the head of the race crashing to the pavement, including Marcolini. Luckily, the riders involved were all able to get up and continue racing. Marcolini was at the finish with blood trickling down her elbow, though happy with the team’s performance this first stage. The Canadian is racing her first stage race since suffering a concussion at the Vuelta a Colombia last summer, prematurely ending her 2022 season. 

“I was really nervous coming into it but I’m starting to settle in and everything was going well,” Marcolini said. “This happened [crashing), but that’s part of bike racing. The team is awesome; we have lots of cards to play tomorrow. We’ll evaluate our situation coming into tomorrow and formulate a plan. I just love Oak Glen. We’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow but hopefully I can have a good one tomorrow.”
Marcolini finished over 5 minutes down, ending her GC ambitions. Roxo Racing had Maeghan Easler as their top finisher, ending up 8th on GC. Skylar Schneider was 4th on the stage for L39ion of Los Angeles making her Redlands debut, while Anet Barrera of DNA Pro Cycling finished just outside the top ten in 11th. The Mexican National TT Champion played a valuable role for her team, helping to win the Sunset Loop and watching over Diana Peñuela. Barrera is racing in her first role as the GC lead for DNA, eager to finish with a really strong result.  

Stage 2 – City of Yucaipa Road Race
Racing resumes Thursday at 10 AM PDT, this time with the men first and the women’s race following suit at just past 11. 

Pro Women’s Results


Top Photo – Team’s Conn McDunphy took the lead in the Climbers Competition.

Photo by Frank Sarate /

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