April 09, 2015 (California) – Silber Pro Cycling continues its stay in California with the 31st Redlands Bicycle Classic. A very deep and talented peloton would start today’s Stage 1 Highland Circuit Race. The course features a tough climb up Base Line road where the finish sits at the top. 20 laps of 4.5km meant the riders would be tested every 7 minutes.
Our game plan was to monitor the top US domestic squads and not miss a strong break. If a sprint was in the cards, we’d protect our two GC contenders Ryan Roth and Alex Cataford not only for a high stage finish but to avoid the inevitable time splits within the bunch.
The aforementioned top US teams almost bluffed each other to the point of giving the stage away today as young Cal Giant Strawberry rider Brendan Rhim was allowed a threatening gap of 1:20 with only 10km remaining. Our kiwi, Alexander Ray (“A-Ray”) would infiltrate the four-rider chase group, but it was clear this break didn’t have the necessary cohesion or horsepower to close down the solo leader. A frustrated A-Ray would leave his breakmates behind in a last ditch effort to make it across to the leader, while behind the heavily favoured Hincapie squad would finally initiate a peloton-exploding team chase to bring back the two remaining riders up the road.
Up Base Line for the last time and Ryan Roth was well positioned on last year’s winner Dion Smith’s wheel. But ultimately Roth didn’t have the legs to respond when the sprint started. In the end, Lucas Haedo returned to US racing after several years on the World Tour with an emphatic victory over reigning NRC champ Travis McCabe of Smartstop with Hincapie team members settling for third and fourth on the day.
For Silber Pro Cycling, both Roth and Cataford would make top 20 results and be well placed for the important time trial up along Big Bear Lake tomorrow. We’ll put our E-118 time trial bikes from Argon 18 to good use and hope to move up the standings.