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Sebastian Haedo (Jamis-Hagens Bermans) and Alison Jackson (Twenty16-Sho-Air) won the men’s and women’s opening stage of this year’s Redlands Bicycle Classic yesterday.
Despite several attempts by numerous groups of riders during the first half of the race,, no one was able to ride clear of the peloton during the men’s race.
However, about halfway through the 58.1-mile stage, a rider from Jelly Belly Pro Cycling and Astellas Cycling finally managed to escape, while Brendan Rhim (Cal Giant) later bridged himself to the two leaders to create a 40 second gap over the field.
From there, Rhim succeeded in ring clear of his breakaway companions, subsequently building up a maximum gap of 1:25 – during the final two laps.
“Hincapie hit the panic button with two laps to go because the break was at a minute,” said Travis McCabe (SmartStop), “They caught everyone off guard when they went, it was really fast, really hard and it split the whole peloton.”
Indeed, Hincapie stayed on the front heading into the final turn, where McCabe and his teammate Bobby Sweeting moved into position behind Sebastian Haedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman).
“I told Bobby to go, and he sprinted halfway up the climb and I hit out about three quarters of the way up the climb on the steepest section and opened a gap to Hincapie [team],” said McCabe
“Haedo came around right at the top of the hill and opened a five-meter gap, which wasn’t much but at that point everyone’s legs were done and we were all just trying to hold on.”
McCabe finished second, while Hincapie Racing’s Dion Smith rounded out the podium in third.
In the women’s race, Jackson emerged from a small lead group of riders to win the sprint, beating Mara Abbott (LA Sweat) and Brianna Walle (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies).
“If you’re not patient enough you’re going to want to go at the bottom,” Jackson said of the final hill. “That’s what happened. People just shelled out the sides. You just gotta wait and wait. I did a good job staying in the pack just saving energy for that final, so then when it flattens out, just so you can see that finish line, that’s time to go, and it worked out.”
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