An all-star start list of professional athletes will converge Wednesday in Redlands, California for a five-day fight for the top step of the podium.
Redlands Classic is the premier early-season stage race in North America, attracting a deep international peloton with its favorable climbs, diverse courses and convenient setting.
Last year’s overall champion Thomas Revard will return to defend his title, surrounded by a strong and determined under 23 Hagens Berman Axeon squad, directed by former pro Jeff Louder.
But it’s a new year, a new season and plenty of new teams also are ready to make their mark. Revard’s competition will come from Floyd’s Pro Cycling’s Alex Cowan, stage winner at Joe Martin Stage Race last year, and Luis Villalobos (Aevolo), who topped off his 2018 season at the Tour of Utah and Colorado Classic.
Villalobos’ team, Aevolo, is another U23 squad boasting a strong roster, which includes U23 US road national champion, Alex Hoehn and 2018 Redlands Bicycle Classic KOM Classification winner, Fernando Islas.
Former US road champion and second overall at the Amgen Tour of California in 2016, Greg Daniel will take the start line with his new team, DC Bank Pro Cycling. Mexican National Road Champion, Orlando Garibay, will be racing as a guest rider with SoCalCycling.com Team. 303 Project’s Griffin Easter, stage winner at Tour de Beauce, and teammate, Isaiah Newkirk, will also be ones to watch throughout the week.
The women’s competition will also field some big names, including 2016 UCI World Time Trial Champion and 2017 U.S. National Road Race Champion Amber Neben, who will lead Trek Red Truck Racing.
The Rally UHC Cycling team brings young phenom Megan Jastrab into the mix once more. When she was just 15 years old, Jastrab had a breakout moment at the 2017 Redlands crit, winning the bunch sprint ahead of Ruth Winder to take second behind solo winner, Claire Rose. Sara Poidevin joins Jastrab, and stands to be a significant threat in the hills.
TIBCO SVB has their cards on Winston Salem Cycling Classic’s Lauren Stephens for the overall, and Sho-Air TWENTY20’s Jasmin Duehring will be hungry to visit the podium just as she did last year after her thrilling victory on stage 3.
Other riders to watch include US national criterium champion, Rachel Langdon, who will don the blue Amy D Foundation colors, Jess Cerra (Hagens Berman Supermint), winner of the last year’s criterium and seven-time Quebec champion, and recent Tucson Bicycle Classic GC winner Marie-Soleil Blais (Trek Red Truck Racing).
Racing kicks off Wednesday with the opening stage, 7-mile time trial at Crafton Hills College.
Watch the final two stages live at cyclestream.tv.
Content provided by Redlands Classic. Photo by Dan Munson.