Impressive Beginning for Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at First National Calendar Race of 2013

Chad Haga and Tom Zirbel Give Dominating One-Two Performance in Big Bear – Brianna Walle Grabs 4th in Opening Stage

Fresh off an impressive finish at the Volta ao Alentejo, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Chad Haga continued to show off his ever improving form Thursday with a commanding performance in the Stage 1 time trial of the 2013 Redlands Cycling Classic. Haga, unfazed by the wind and high altitude of the Big Bear course dominated the field finishing with a time of 14:53 and in doing so secured the yellow jersey for the day. A close second and the only other rider of the day to finish under 15 minutes was team mate Tom Zirbel who rolled across the finish line with a time of 14:59 just ahead of third place finisher David Williams of 5 Hour Energy/Kenda.

The Optum women also had a strong showing today with three top ten finishes including Denise Ramsden who finished tenth, seventh place Janel Holcomb and just missing the podium by 4 seconds with a time of 16:58, Brianna Walle.

The Optum p/b KBS women have plenty of options in today’s Beaumont Road Race, looking to move their riders onto the top step of the podium in the stage and the overall. The men had an outstanding ride in Big Bear and now face an unenviable task of defending their lead with a reduced squad of 6, while the team currently doubles up with remaining riders tackling this weekend’s UCI 1.1 ranked
Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta in Spain.

Check out race reports from Directors, Jonas Carney and Rachel Heal below:


Jonas Carney report Stage 1:

The Redlands Classic is the first NRC event of the year, and as usual all the domestic teams are fired up. The opening stage was a 7.8 miles long time trial, on the shore of Big Bear lake at 7000 feet, and rolling with lots of technical curves.

The guys did some recon yesterday and practiced the technical sections several times. This was key to having a good ride as lots of the curves were sharp enough to make riders question whether to stay in the TT bars or come out of them.

Chad Haga and Tom Zirbel finished 1st and 2nd and were the only two riders to break the 15 minute mark. Scott Zwizanski finished 13th. This puts us in a good position going into the stage 2 Beaumont Road Race. However, we only have a 6 man team here and this is a very hard race to defend.


Rachel Heal report Stage 1:

There’s not much in the way of complicated tactics when it comes to a TT…. ride as fast as you can and don’t crash pretty much covers it. The course was a new one for the Redlands Classic, but the riders had all seen it yesterday and were well prepared.

As was expected by many people, Alison Powers set the fastest time of the day and Brie did an awesome ride, proving that the Merced and San Dimas results were a good sign of things to come, finishing in 4th place.

With Janel and Denise in 7th and 10th, the team has put themselves in a great position heading into tomorrows road stage

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