mobius BridgeLane is excited to end their USA campaign with the 34th edition of the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California this week. After a weeks break from racing, the team have arrived in Redlands for the five-day stage race starting on Wednesday, May 2nd.
The race is an important fixture on the USA Pro Road Series despite not having UCI status. The Redlands Bicycle Classic boasts past winners such as America professionals Phil Gaimon, Joey Rosskopf and Chris Horner. Many of cycling great stars have raced in Redlands, even a young Cadel Evans finished second to Jonathan Vaughters (now the owner of EF Education First –Drapac) in 1998 at just 20 years old.
For the mobius BridgeLane riders who raced the Redlands Bicycle Classic in 2017, this years edition will be a redemption of sorts. Ethan Berends will be looking to capitalise on the past six weeks he has spent training and racing at altitude and hopes for better luck than he had last year.
“I dropped my chain on the first lap of the Highland Circuit Race last year and spent the rest of the stage trying to chase on,” explained Ethan, “so obviously this year the goal is to do better than that. I have had some great training in Salt Lake City and felt good throughout the Tour of the Gila so I am ready to get racing again back at sea level. It is really good to be able to breathe again.”
Ethan will be one of three protected riders throughout the stage race, alongside Alexander Evans and Ben Carman. Together with Peter Livingstone and Conor Murtagh, Ben has spent the past two weeks since the conclusion of the Joe Martin Stage Race at altitude in Salt Lake City.
“I feel really good after being up at altitude, obviously analysing the numbers is different when you are at altitude but being back at sea level again, I am feeling better than I did heading into Joe Martin Stage Race,” explained Ben. “I am looking to back up what I did in Joe Martin where I finished eighth on the general classification.”
Brad Evans will once again captain the team, while at the helm of the convoy car we have Marc Prutton who also directed the team earlier this year at the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Brad takes us through the upcoming stages.
“Being a time trial, day one is the start of the general classification and important day for those riders. It is going to be a challenge competing at altitude but we should be in good shape coming off the high altitude at Gila. We will definitely be looking for Ethan and Alex to start the week off with solid rides.”
“Day two is a crucial day for the general classification, we are expecting a major shakeup on the final climb up Oak Glen. The six laps around Yucaipa are going to make it a heavy stage before the 25-minute 5.8km climb. We will be going all in for our three climbers and looking for a three-pronged attack at the base.”
“Depending on what happens on stage two, the Highland Road Race will be a good opportunity for us to race aggressively and will be a good day for the whole team. I will want to have a good go at the finish. It will be a day for the guys to take control of the race and see what we can make stick, especially with the breakaway’s.”
“The criterium will be another good day for me to get up for a sprint. It is a technical course, which I thrive on. I have competed in a number of criteriums in America and am really looking for a race that is full gas throughout the whole 90 minutes. It is also a really exciting evening because American’s are known for their criterium parties.”
“The final stage – the Sunset Loop – is where the race can be won or lost. We are going to try set up our general classification while also aiming for a high stage finish. Hopefully one of them can sneak up into a breakaway and possibly stay away for the stage win.”
Redlands Bicycle Classic Roster
Redlands Bicycle Classic Stages
Stage One – Big Bear Lake Individual Time Trial – 12.5km
Stage Two – Yucaipa Road Race – 151.9km (6 laps + finishing climb to Oak Glen)
Stage Three – Highland Circuit Race – 93.5km (20 laps)
Stage Four – City of Redlands Criterium – 90 minutes / 1.6km laps
Stage Five – Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road Race – 151.4km (12 laps)