Press Release – The start of the 34th annual Redlands Bicycle Classic (RBC) is hours away as riders arrive in Southern California to tackle the 5-day stage race. Beginning with a return to Big Bear Lake for the opening stage time trial Wednesday and ending Sunday in Downtown Redlands with the Sunset Road Race. A diverse field of 25 men’s teams that total about 200 riders and 14 women’s teams making up about 100 for their field from 8 different countries, will line up at the starting line to compete.
“We are excited to have a full field, that is filled with exceptional talents from around the globe,” Marc Shaw said, Redlands Bicycle Classic president. “A new champion will come from this group of first class competitors and we are excited to watch them compete for their place in the RBC history books.”
Holowesko Citadel returns with a strong squad, minus the 2017 Redlands Bicycle Classic champion, TJ Eisenhart, who remains in Europe racing. Past stage winner, Ruben Companioni will captain the team in his place, after opening the season with an overall win at Joe Martin, the first stage race on the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour Calendar.
Returning to battle for the overall will be U23 powerhouse development team, Hagens Berman Axeon and Pro Continental team, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. Axeon arrives with Chris Blevins and Sean Bennett, after winning the Best Young Rider Classification and Sprinters jerseys at the Tour of the Gila two weeks ago, also with last year’s Highland Circuit stage winner, Michael Rice.
Gavin Mannion (UHC) will look to improve on his fourth place GC finish in 2017, with a solid squad behind him, including 2017 Stage 1 Time Trial winner, Sergei Tvetcov, and Colombian duo Daniel Jaramillo and Janier Acevedo. Other riders to watch will be Mobius Bridgelane’s Alex Evans, Silber Pro Cycling’s Nickolas Zukowsky and Adam Roberge, Elevate KHS Alfredo Rodriguez and James Piccoli, and Aevolo’s Luis Villalobos, to name a few.
On the women’s side, UnitedHealthcare will defend last year’s GC win, after a stellar opening to the season with Katie Hall’s overall GC wins at both Joe Martin and Tour of the Gila stage races. Redlands Bicycle Classic legend’s continue as 2017 champion, Ruth Winder along with stage and sprinting classification winner, Claire Rose, both moved up to the WorldTour in Europe and will be not be returning. Hall (UHC) will look to both Leah Thomas and Diana Peñuela for support, after a strong showing two weeks ago winning the team classification in Silver City.
Battling UHC for the overall win will be Rally Cycling, with young Canadian star, Sara Poidevin, backed by Sara Bergen, Kirsti Lay, and Abigail Mickey for key support. Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank return Stateside after a European Spring campaign, with GC contenders Lex Albrecht and Emma Grant. Both teams will be keeping a close eye on Twenty20 as well who return to Redlands with Allie Dragoo, Jasmin Duehring, and Scotti Lechuga.
Other riders to watch include Hagens Berman Supermint’s Peta Mullens, and Jen Luebke, Katie Clouse and Amber Pierce racing for Amy D Foundation, and up and coming talent, Megan Jastrab racing for Team California. The 16-year-old finished second in stage 4 Downtown Redlands criterium on junior gears in 2017. Jastrab has already nabbed several impressive wins in Belgium this spring against world class fields, and added a win at Dana Point Grand Prix this past Sunday, ahead of WorldTour American star, Coryn Rivera.
Barring any weather advisory’s early Wednesday morning, racing will begin tomorrow at Big Bear Lake for the Stage 1 opening 7.8 mile Time Trial at 11:30 AM PDT.
Wednesday, May 2 – Stage 1: Big Bear Lake Individual Time Trial
Thursday, May 3 – Stage 2: The City of Yucaipa Road Race
Friday, May 4 – Stage 3: The City of Highland Circuit Race
Saturday, May 5 – Stage 4: City of Redlands Downtown Criterium
Sunday, May 6 – Stage 5: The Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road Race