April 14, 2016 (Redlands, California) – After a successful weekend in San Dimas, the H&R Block Pro Cycling Team made their way east to Redlands, California. With moral high and excitement building for one of America’s biggest stage races, the boys settled in with their amazing host families.
Stage 2 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic will be the race highlight for the H&R Block Pro Cycling Team. With Bailey McKnight and Travis Samuel covering the early attacks in the field, Travis managed to find his way into the move of the day. Knowing that the sprint jersey was up for grabs, Travis out sprinted his breakaway companions on both intermediate sprints to claim an outright lead in that competition. Travis had earned himself a trip to the podium and a shiny new green jersey. The infamous Oak Glen climb was home to many fireworks at the end of a long day, with both Chris and Jack finishing within striking distance of the leaders.
With the highs of Stage 2 came the lows of Stage 4. With a large number of sprint points up for grabs, Travis made a valiant effort to retain the jersey in the criterium. With strong teams leading the charge, he saw his lead in the sprint competition disappear. To make matters worse, Travis was caught up in a crash late in the stage – a crash that saw him taken to hospital with severe road rash. Fortunately, road rash was the worse of his injuries and Travis was motivated to start Stage 5 in hopes of winning back the jersey.
The Sunset Loop at Redlands is amongst one of the most coveted stages in North American racing. With dark clouds looming over the field, Travis made one more brave effort to try and regain control of the sprint jersey but would ultimately fall just shy. Jack, who was sitting in 8th place in the GC going into the Sunset Loop, had a mechanical issue after turning onto the circuits. Here is a description of the event in his own words:
After the entire team contributed to aiding Jack retain his top ten on GC, a strong move that included Canadian Matteo Dal-Cin, broke free from the field. The breakaway would eventually last to the finish line where Dal-Cin became the first Canadian to claim the yellow jersey at Redlands. Jack slid to 13th overall but had a strong overall ride for his first time at notably one of America’s biggest race.
The team will now make the drive to Monterey, California, host of the 2016 Sea Otter Classic.
We would like to thank Matt Clark with Stirl and Rae Photo for joining the team on this trip.