April 10, 2015 (Redlands, California) – The teams competing in the Redlands Classic traveled up to chilly Big Bear resort for stage 2: a fairly straightforward out and back course along the north shore of Big Bear Lake.
Optum also had reason to be confident with last year’s time trial stage winner Tom Zirbel on hand, as well as Phil Gaimon and Michael Woods contending for the overall.
Zirbel would indeed defend his title, coming the closest to the field to break 15 minutes by a scant two seconds, but in terms of the general classification he had lost an important 30 seconds in Stage One.
Ryan started behind Chris Horner, a former winner of the Vuelta Espana and four-time winner of Redlands. My old teammate hasn’t put a strong time trial performance together in the past couple of years, so the idea of catching Chris was discussed. It proved prophetic as Ryan would take 30 seconds from the legend and sneak past Horner with 100m to go. This motivation surely helped Ryan finish second on the stage, eight seconds behind Zirbel.
I personally rate Redlands as the most prestigious stage race in America behind the obvious ‘big 3’ of California, Utah, and Colorado. Today produced a great result for us, and with it comes the challenge of defending it with honor; a challenge we will gratefully accept.
Canadian road cycling legend Gord Fraser is Silber Pro Cycling Team’s Directeur Sportif.