Optum Pro Cycling kicked off the 30th edition of the Redlands Bicycle Classic in Redlands, California with two 3rd place finishes. Leah Kirchmann and Will Routley earned their respective places on the podium after successfully navigating the deceptively difficult Highland Circuit Race route. Performance Director Jonas Carney weighed in with his analyses after the conclusion of the stage.
The deceivingly difficult course was a relatively short circuit with a big roller on the home stretch with the finish at the top, and a technical descent through residential neighborhoods. Given that four of our riders returned from Portugal less than 48 hours ago, we decided to race conservatively and mainly try to keep the guys who are fresh out of trouble. The race was relatively uneventful and basically a race of attrition. An early break that wasn’t really a threat stayed away for much of the race, but it came down to a field sprint with a reduced field.
It started raining, and our jet lagged guys were suffering a bit. Instead of waiting until the end and maybe, or maybe not being able to help, they decided to use their energy when they could to keep Routley, Zirbel, Friedman, and Bjorn out of trouble; they controlled the race from 5 laps to go until 2 laps to go, but from there on our GC guys were basically on their own. While it was a relatively disappointing finish for Bjorn, Friedman, and Zirbel, they all stayed within 20 second and will look to go fast in the TT tomorrow. Will Routley, on the other hand, had a great sprint, finished third on the stage, and sits in third on GC.
We hope to have a better day at the Big Bear time trial.